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Returning to Work - Carers UK Forum

Returning to Work

Share information, support and advice on all aspects of caring.
Good morning Everyone.

I woke up at 5.45am today - worrying about everything too much. Partner says I'm worrying too much and should only worry about things when I have to face them. Easier said than done... Image

I'm asking for some advice.

I had always intended to return to work once my Youngest had reached the age of 11/went to secondary school. We're almost there now.

I haven't been in paid work since early 2005. I've worked non-stop at home, sometimes with very little breaks, still...

I was just wondering if anyone has returned to paid work of some capacity from a prolonged period of caring. What are employers' approaches to us? Has anyone experienced problems in any areas?



Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

Sezzie.
Hi,
I don't have experience in it so much but I heard people like the Shaw Trust might be able to help. Also, if you're creative enough you could probably make all your caring sound great to an employer. All the skills you've learned - thinking on your feet, creative ways to solve problems, working under pressure, working well on your own or with others (official bodies etc.), taking initiative in difficult circumstances etc. etc. Depending on you specific caring situation.

I know it's probably not the reply you were hoping for, but I hope it's something.
BB
Hi BB Image

Thanks kindly for your help.

Any information is useful. Image

Sezzie
Though a carer for well over 20 years,now,ive allways juggled work and caring.I had two DISASTEROUS years on benefits,2004 to 2006,when my caree was VERY poorly.Been There Done That.

Now I LOVE TO WORK.THE MONEY,THE DIGNITY,I HATE BEING A CLAIMENT,it AINT ME,and,Im not into it.

I was made redundant at the end of Feb.But Im hunting hard.


EMPLOYERS:

Ive wondered about this.Im never quite sure.Saying Im a carer,might just put them off.Lets be honest,employers want commitiment,and,if a candidate for a job has issues,such as a caring role,that can be a problem for them.

Equality Acts are fine,noble etc,But,its a buyers market.Employers have lots of people jobseeking now.They have the pick.

That Said,The best employers,if your going to tell em your a carer,are local authorities,banks,
some supermarkets,the third sector,charities are good.They all do have seriously positive attitudes to carers.

Its usefull too,to look at jobs where theres flexitime,or,a job share.Part Time jobs are more available,and can fit well into your situation.

Proximetty.How far you want to travel to work or whats available near you,matters greatly.

But,again,its just down to you.Ideally,in an ideall world all employers would be cool about carers working for them,many are,but some are not.So its looking at their ethic.

But GOOD LUCK.
Yes, I would make sure first that the job hours suit you and that you have solid back-up in place: then go to interview and only mention caring if it enhances your attractivess to the employer: for example if you have special skills like using Sign Language or first aid that is a marketable asset to any employer and adds value. Never raise obstacles at interview or in your CV: this stage of the process is utterly ruthless and it will not help you one bit. Youi have to be the "perfect candidate" at this stage.

Never mention anything about caring at interview: if they raise it explain very briefly that you have back-up in place: get the offer first, then either mention any restrictions at the time of offer: e.g. "I'd love to accept your offer but can I first clarify that I will not be required to work Sundays as I look after my auntie " .

That way its unlikely they will turn you down: they are already keen to have you, and as it has been mentioned as a pre-condition they cant moan about it afterwards or fire you unfairly.

Don't apply for any job unless the pay (after all expenses and deductions for respite, tax, NI, pension and travel to work etc) is either under £100 or over £200 per week: it simply isnt worth working hard to earn £155 per week only to lose your £55 carers allowance, because you are in effect working a third of your hours for nothing.

It can be worth opening a small private pension plan for say £50 a week to get your earnings below the earnings limit, as 50% of all pension payments are allowable expenses. Plus of course it makes sense to save for retirement, and its tax free.
Hi Maxi and Excalibur Image

Sorry - I was logged in but went away for a bit.. just sat down quietly and thought about many things.

Maxi:- I've been dependent on benefits for about 3, nearly 4yrs now. My Ex-Partner and I separated in 2007 and there was just no way on Earth I could have been able to juggle work with two ASD daughters with varying needs (and they continue to vary wildly, I can tell you). Prior to the separation, I had been claiming CA for about 2yrs (as explained in another post, I think.. Image ). However, I worked before and yes, the most important things I miss, more than money - being with other people and yes, dignity.

I'd worked from the age of 15, juggled school/college work with jobs in a supermarket and newsagents... continued to juggle through various problems whilst working in great jobs in Local Government and in the private sector, with flexible hours. Managed to juggle everything successfully until 2004-2005.. the rest, as they say, is history.

.. sorry going to continue post separately - screen's jiggling Image ... tbc
Now my wonderful boyfriend is living with us, I do have a little more flexibility. Also, my Youngest Daughter will be going to a special needs secondary school come September so I will have more time to spare...

Maxi/Excalibur - you have given some very sage advice over employers. Interestingly, I worked in Local Government for 12yrs and they weren't exactly overgenerous in relation to my caring commitments. They offered flexi-time (standard for Local Government - already had that anyhow but commitment needs changed). I requested part-time hours (would most likely still be there now if they offered it) but it was refused (needed someone full time). That was, however, 12yrs ago and times have moved on. I worked as an Administrator in music retail/tuition for 3yrs and had more flexibility there, tbh. It was a high-stress but lovely job.

I was made redundant at the time I had decided I couldn't juggle everything any longer (centralisation of admin. functions)... Image Still feel sad about it to this day. Went on to a temporary position at my old workplace for 3mths - would have liked to have taken the position but they needed someone full time.. Image

Excalibur - I note your words of wisdom too. I did apply for a position at a local hospital a couple of years ago, just to see what would happen. Got interviewed and had circumstances been different, most likely would have been offered the job on the grounds of my ... tbc...
sorry.. same thing happened...

... previous experience and because I was a carer. Hospitals are good employers, that I know. Unfortunately, I was still a single mother at the time and back-ups failed so I wouldn't have been able to do that.

Back-up plans are being sorted out in advance of September so hopefully....

Thanks for the financial advice too - very much appreciated Image

Sezzie.
I made the mistake of signing off Carers Allowance too soon last year because I hadn't understood the allowable deductions system:

Take this example: its illustrative ands simplified, not real, but it shows the kind of possible scenario: everyone will have different circumstances. I agree its not easy to set up, but it is possible. Obviously the less you earn, and the more predictable your earnings: the easier it gets to juggle:

[quote]Helen is 53. She retired early at 50 from her job as a civil servant due to stress and workplace bullying, and therefore has a modest index-linked pension. She now works as a senior cashier in a local supermarket, and looks after her Mum, who has great difficulty walking. She earns £300 in a week, and pays £60 income tax at 20% and £9.00 National Insurance, taking her pay packet down to £231.
She employs a friendly caring neighbour to pop in on her Mum every day for a couple of hours, help with the ironing, and make her lunch for £100 per week, that takes her earnings down to £131. Bus fares are £10, leaving her with £121. So, she invests £43 each week into a private pension plan, of which £21.50 can be deducted, taking her wage down to £99.50p ]
So very many carers want to work,but its so hard to get a job,balance care and work and I see Work as essential,for me,as I said,but so many cant do it.its not easy