A carer is someone of any age who provides unpaid support to family or friends who could not manage without this help. This could be caring for a relative, partner or friend who is ill, frail, elderly, disabled or has mental health or substance misuse problems. Most carers might not recognise themselves under the term 'carer' as they take it for granted that they should offer physical or emotional support to people they care about. The support may range from regular 'phone calls and visits to providing a home to the person.
Juggling work and care can be a challenge, but there are rights in the workplace which may make this easier and there is other support available.
What are the rights for carers in the workplace?
Since April 2007 employees who are caring for a relative or someone who lives at the employee's address have the right to request flexible working. There is no automatic right to work flexibly and there may be circumstances where the School is unable to accommodate such a request. So please refer to the flexible working guidance to help you make the best case and increase your chances of a successful application. The guidance also includes case studies and types of flexible working.
Time off for emergencies involving a dependant
Employees have the right to take unpaid time off work in an emergency involving a dependant. The right is not for time off that can be pre-planned, such as hospital appointments, or for long-term care arrangements, such as nursing a sick relative but could be used if the normal day care arrangements break down. The School gives up to two days paid emergency leave per year which employees can apply for in circumstances not covered by compassionate leave.
If the caring responsibility is for a disabled child under 18 the employee can also apply for unpaid parental leave.
LSE Staff Counselling Service
Caring for others can be emotionally demanding so employees may find it helpful to seek confidential support from the Staff Counselling Service. The contact details are as follows: Telephone: 020 7955 6953, ext 6953. Email - firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please let us know if you would be interested in joining a network or buddy system for carers at the School. Contact Gail Keeley.
Employers for carers - Distance caring toolkit
Carers direct (NHS) - information, support and advice for carers
Carers UK - advise in obtaining practical, emotional and financial support, including a directory of national and local organisations and an online support forum
DirectGov (caring for someone) - government help and advise for carers
Working families - information and factsheets on employment rights, tax credits and in-work benefits