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.
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.
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
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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.