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Help for carers who work or study


You may not want to tell your employer about your caring responsibilities, but if you do, they may offer you support.

Read your employer’s policy for supporting carers.

You might find this information in your staff handbook or intranet. Or you could ask your:

  • line manager
  • HR/personnel department
  • union or staff representative
  • colleagues

Colleagues can be supportive, and it may help to discuss your situation with someone you trust at work. Other colleagues may have caring responsibilities too. You could talk to your employer about setting up a support group.

Carers UK gives information on managing your work and care responsibilities.

A number of initiatives are raising awareness of the benefits of supporting carers at work. These include the Carer Positive initiative, which awards recognition to employers who support carers in their workforce.

Find out more from Carer Positive

The See Me employer pledge also recognises organisations which value the health and wellbeing of their employees.

The Open University offers a course called Caring Counts in the Workplace, created for managers and policy makers, to help support carers in the workforce.

Employees’ rights

You have the right to:

  • request flexible working
  • get time off for dependants
  • unpaid parental leave
  • paid annual leave

Working Families has information on statutory employment rights and guides to help carers back into work.

Read more on carers’ rights at work on the Carers Scotland website.

Flexible working

Many employers recognise the importance of retaining skilled staff rather than spending money in recruitment.

They offer flexible working policies and try to create a working environment that contributes to positive health and wellbeing.

For carers in employment, having a supportive and flexible working environment can make a huge difference to maintaining and progressing career opportunities.

Flexible working can take different forms, including:

  • job sharing
  • working from home
  • working part-time
  • working shorter days
  • working compressed hours, full-time hours but over fewer days
  • flexitime
  • phased retirement

Read more on flexible working from Carers ScotlandAcas and the UK Government

Returning to work

If you haven’t worked or you’ve given up work because of your caring role, you may want to work once your caring responsibilities end, or you may decide you want to combine care with work.

This might seem daunting. You may feel you’ve lost confidence and your skills are no longer up-to-date, but it’s important not to underestimate skills you’ve gained through caring, including organisational and time management skills, as well as caring skills.

My World of Work gives information on career planning, getting a job and training.

Read more about returning to work on the Carers Scotland website.

Benefits and work

As well as getting support in returning to work, it’s important to find out about any benefit implications.

If you’re ready to look for a job, benefits like Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)  details on the UK Government’s GOV.UK website  can help you.

Also, find out which benefits you may be entitled to if you are a carer

Leaving work

Research shows that 1 in 5 carers give up work to care. You may feel that your caring role doesn’t leave you the time or energy to continue in employment.

Before you make any decisions, it’s important to think about the implications of and alternatives to leaving work described on the Carers Scotland website.

Further information

Contact your local carers centre to find out if there are any projects or access to support to help make the transition to work, education or training.

The information was last updated on: 28th April 2023


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You can contact your local council's social care department for a free assessment. Find their details here.

You can contact your local council's social care department for a free assessment. Find their details here.