guide for carers offers advice on your rights and available support if you have caring responsibilities that impact your work.



In the United Kingdom, it is estimated that approximately one in ten people are caring for someone else and that one in five of those are aged 50-64. As the rise in life expectancy continues to increase, it is estimated that by 2030 the number of carers will increase by around 60%.

So, what support is available?

The law

Carers have a day one right to one week of unpaid leave each year to carry out caring responsibilities. Carers UK and others have been calling for 10 days’ paid leave, but say unpaid leave is a start. The right will apply to employees who need to take time off to care for a dependant. A dependant will include:

  • A spouse, partner or civil partner
  • A child
  • A parent
  • A person who lives in the same household as the employee (otherwise than by reason of being their employee, tenant, lodger, or boarder)
  • A person who reasonably relies on the employee for care

In order to be eligible for carer’s leave, which could be taken as a single block or as days or half days, the person being cared for must have a long-term care need.

An employee will be able to take carer’s leave for any of the following forms of caring:

  • Providing personal support
  • Providing practical support
  • Helping with official or financial matters
  • Providing personal and/medical care
  • Making arrangements

Carers who take the time off will be protected from dismissal in relation to their caring responsibilities. Under the Equality Act, carers already have the right not to be discriminated against as a result of their caring role and “association” with a disabled person.

Other legal rights include the right to request flexible working and the right to take unpaid time off during emergencies without affecting your employment.

It is also worth checking whether your employer has a carers policy, carers passport [which enables a carer and their manager to discuss and document the flexibilities needed to combine caring and work so that they can take that pattern with them if they change role within the organisation] or a carers network which may offer more support and more generous terms. You could also find out if it is possible to take a career break, early retirement or voluntary redundancy in negotiation with your employer.

Carers support services

Caring for someone else can be an isolating experience but there are resources out there that provide dedicated support to carers in the UK. Online resources such as The Carers Trust and Carers UK will provide the most up-to-date expert information and advice tailored to your situation. They can also advise on your rights, provide access to online forums and support and share personal stories from real life carers which can help you to feel less isolated.

Taking a break

Caring for someone can be equal to a full-time job so taking even just a short break is essential for your own health, wellbeing and resilience.

Some of the options available include:

  • Getting advice / help from your local council who will have a social services department that may be able to arrange services to support you as a carer
  • Arranging care yourself either through employing a paid care worker to come in to your home or by paying for short-term residential care outside of the home
  • Support from friends and family who may be able to take over your caring duties for a short amount of time

More information on respite care can be found on

Technology to support carers

Technology can make life as a carer easier in many ways from providing online support groups where you can share experiences and knowledge, through to websites designed to equip you with the most up to date advice and support as a carer.

In addition to online services, there are many simple apps and devices available to help someone live independently or give you confidence that they will be ok when you can’t be around.

If you are caring for someone who has trouble controlling household appliances for example, there are plenty of solutions to help them. Using these devices can help them manage their home environment more easily using simple apps or technology such as voice activation.


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