Equality Act 2010

If you are a carer for someone who is elderly or disabled, the Equality Act will protect you from direct discrimination or harassment because of your caring responsibilities. This means that if you are treated unfairly because of your association (i.e. your caring role) with an elderly or disabled person, this is called “discrimination by association.” If you think that you are being discriminated against because of your caring responsibilities, it is important to get expert advice from organisations such as:

The Equality Advisory and Support Service which advises and assists individuals on issues relating to equality and human rights.

ACAS which provides information, advice and other services for employers and employees to help prevent or resolve workplace problems.

Civil Legal Advice which might be able to give free confidential advice on discrimination if you are eligible for legal aid.

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Your rights at work

Juggling work and caring commitments can be a difficult balancing act. Working carers often feel stressed by multiple demands on their time, and this can take a toll on your health, wellbeing and relationships. It's therefore important to know what your rights are if you are working and caring. t’s your decision whether or not to tell your employer that you are a carer. Some people find it helpful as their employer may be more understanding about your situation. Your employer may also have additional policies which go above and beyond the legal requirements, so may be worthwhile finding out if your employer has carer friendly policies.

Flexible working

If you have been in your current job for 26 continuous weeks or more (with a few exceptions, such as if you are an agency worker), you have the right to ask for flexible working. This is different to the right to receiving flexible working. For further information about how to make a flexible working request, visit Carers UK.

Time off for dependants

If you care for someone and you need to take time off to deal with an emergency, you may be able to use the right to time off for dependants. The time off you take will need to be reasonable in the circumstances and does not have to be paid. For more information about the right to time off for dependants, visit Working Families.

Leaving work due to caring responsibilities

Leaving work is a big decision and you will need to think about the financial implications, including the effect on your income and any potential impact on your pension. You may also need to consider non-financial factors too, such as the effect on your own wellbeing and confidence. If you don’t want to give up work, you may wish to use flexible working, take a career break or paid/unpaid leave or ask for additional help from the council. You could also talk to your employer about your situation and see if there are any other options you haven’t considered.

If you do leave work and your income changes, you may need to look at financial support. Visit our money and benefits page for more information.

Going back to work

If you have left work due to caring responsibilities, there may come a time when you wish or are able to return to employment. Every month you can book a half-hour telephone appointment with our employment coach. They can provide practical help and advice, whether you're needing to retrain or find the right tips for a successful job search. Support includes guidance on interview skills and best CV practice, plus information about local employment or work experience opportunities. To book an appointment, email email hidden; JavaScript is required.

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More information

South West London Law Service helps people on low incomes across south-west London to understand and defend their rights. Expert advisers provide free and independent legal advice on social justice issues, including housing, employment, debt, benefits and asylum.

ACAS has online information on employment rights and responsibilities, a helpline and an early resolution service before employment cases reach tribunal.

Carers UK has information on their website on rights at work as a carer and a helpful section on the Equality Act

Working Families has a dedicated helpline for people caring for a disabled child or adult and lots of helpful information on their website.

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Carers Support Centre

The central hub for for anyone in Croydon caring for a family member or friend, who needs help due to illness or disability.
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