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Carers UK Forum • Juggling being a carer and working full time - employer being awkward
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Juggling being a carer and working full time - employer being awkward

Posted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 11:22 pm
by Jane_1602123
Hi I'm new to the forum and hope other members can help point me in the right direction. I look after my husband whose mental and physical health is deteriorating due to complex and ongoing post operative and health issues following being treated for cancer 21 years ago. I also work full time and I'm finding it hard to juggle my caring role with a full time job. My job has got more demanding over the years but we are also short staffed and my immediate colleagues do not want to work and are not willing to help me out. I've raised office issues with my immediate supervisors on several occasions but very little has changed and I find myself feeling more and more under pressure. Work are aware of my situation but seem to be doing very little to help except reprimand me when jobs are not getting done and not giving some of my workload to the others or giving me work that takes me away from the tasks I'm responsible for. I feel that by confiding in my supervisor this is actually going against me and she seems to be going out of her way to make my life difficult. I have got to the point that I would rather leave the work environment I'm in and look for an alternative but I'm concerned about being able to manage financially so that daily expenses are maintained. Has anyone else experienced this and do they have any advice for me.

Re: Juggling being a carer and working full time - employer being awkward

Posted: Fri Mar 24, 2017 8:13 am
by susieq
Hello Jane

This problem does crop up regularly - it would seem that some employers are still not aware of their obligations under the Equality Act 2010 ! Start by reading the Carers UK fact sheet "Your Rights in Work" here http://www.carersuk.org/files/helpandad ... =thumbnail

Then I'd suggest contacting the Carers UK Adviceline for further advice
Need expert advice? You can talk to the Carers UK Adviceline five days a week, no matter where you are in the UK or how complex your query is. We do benefits checks and advise on financial and practical matters related to caring.

0808 808 7777
Open Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm

The Carers UK Adviceline also includes a listening service, there for you to talk through your caring situation with a trained volunteer who understands what you are going through. Available Mondays and Tuesdays, from 9am to 7pm.
If you can’t get through on the phones (lines are often oversubscribed) then send them an email, they’ll usually get back to you within 3-5 working days.

Re: Juggling being a carer and working full time - employer being awkward

Posted: Fri Mar 24, 2017 8:39 am
by bowlingbun
Under the Equality Act, you are classed as "disabled by association" and therefore your employers have a duty to "make reasonable adjustments" for you, in the same way as if you were disabled yourself. Google "Constructive Dismissal Coleman Case" for more information.
However, there are other things you might like to think about. When did your husband last have a Needs Assessment from Social Services, and you, a Carers Assessment? Social Services are supposed to support carers who want to work.
Is your home as easy to manage as possible. Dishwasher? Tumble dryer? Washer dryer? Is your garden under control?
Most important of all, do you want to continue working? Work is much more than money, it gives you someone different to talk to. How would life be if it was just you and your husband together in the house all day?

It sounds to me that you might be reaching a sort of "crossroads". Maybe think about having some counselling to help you decide what is best for YOU from now on?

Lots to think about. The Carers UK helpline is wonderful, they can talk through your current situation, legal employers duties, and benefits you might be entitled to if you gave up work altogether. Be sure to contact them, but I hope you'll keep in touch with the forum, where there are many people who have been in your situation. There is no right or wrong, it's what you feel and want that matters.

Re: Juggling being a carer and working full time - employer being awkward

Posted: Fri Mar 24, 2017 9:46 am
by Henrietta
Yes been there got the t shirt- change your job!!!!!! and don't look back.

Re: Juggling being a carer and working full time - employer being awkward

Posted: Fri Mar 24, 2017 12:03 pm
by jenny lucas
Look at the situation brutally.

Are you sufficiently valuable to your employers for them not to want you to leave?

If you are, they will accommodate to you (ie, irrespective of any legal obligations they have).

If you aren't - ie, if you are very easily replaceable, at no cost to them, etc - then they won't.

That is the brute truth of any 'unhappy' employment situation.

That said, they don't sound very 'nice' employers. But, again, do you think the problem is with your immediate supervisor, or with the whole attitude of the company? Is it a large company, or a small one? Does it have its own HR/Personnel department?

You might find that it is ONLY your immediate supervisor who is the source of pressure on you, because THEY are under pressure themselves from their own superiors. So, if you went 'up a level' and took your situation to THEIR manager you might get a lot more sympathy (and they would be lot more aware of legislative protection for your position - as would be an actual HR department!)

In many organisations 'Little Hitlers' abound. This can be especially so if your own level is quite 'junior', almost a 'worker' so to speak, because then the 'Little Hitlers' are usually at the 'Foreman' level, ie, the FIRST level of 'management' who are very often themselves 'promoted workers' who are effectively 'stoolies' (!) for more senior management. Their sole task is to flog the workers to maximise output. (!!) BUT, if this is so, they are often NOT representative of 'upper management policy'! (Hence why going behind their back one level up can be productive.)

(On way of going 'one level up' by the way is to start CC'ing all emails to your immediate supervisor to THEIR manager....puts your SUPERVISOR on the spot....and you should email ALL conversations with your supervisor along the lines of 'Just to confirm our conversation this afternoon, in respect of my output and situation'....that makes all the conversations you have with your supervisor 'on the record' - if the supervisor disagrees that you've recorded the conversation accurately, then THEY have to reply to the email - the email 'stands' unless they 'correct it' also by email - and the emails are THE record in any disputes!)

The above all said, if you have a supervisor who is a Little Hitler, then really, the best thing to do is walk out and get another job. Having, of course, emailed to THEIR senior managers just WHY you are walking out. ie, that the behaviour of the supervisor has lost them a hardworking, loyal employee......

All the very best to you in a stressful situation!

Re: Juggling being a carer and working full time - employer being awkward

Posted: Fri Mar 24, 2017 12:10 pm
by jenny lucas
PS - you'll have a contract of employment that sets out your working hours and expectations. There may be a degree of 'flexiblity' in it, eg, in terms of times (I used to work for a company that had monthly deadlines, so there was always a case of 'longer hours' when the deadline loomed....but not THAT much longer, eg a couple of hours on the working day for a few days a month).

I once had a manager that wanted to get 'more work overall' out of everyone - it saved taking on an extra member of staff when workloads increased because of increased business.

So he said to me 'I want you to take on xxxx now'. I simply turned round to him and said 'So what shall I drop then out of my current workload?'

He looked astounded. 'I said, well, unless you think I'm currently slacking, I'm actually working flat out, so if I take on any more, I have to drop something else.'

He backed off.

So, definitely dig out your contract and check the terms and conditions about having your workload increased over and above what is set out in the contract.

PPS - Join a union! IF it comes to Constructive Dismissal (ie, that your company basically 'want you out' because they can replace you cheaply and easily and quickly, and you are more trouble than you are worth because you are banging on about being Disabled by Association....)(I'm saying that from THEIR unpleasant point of view), then being in a union will be invaluable - possibly essential. Remember, HR departments exist to protect the interest of the employers NOT the employees, so you need someone 'on your side' - ie, a union rep. It is not necessary for your company to be 'unionised' you can still join a union, and get their expertise on employement law. That said you may not be entitled to have a union rep present at any conversations with your employers - I couldn't believe it when a friend of mine was made redundant by a very nasty new manager, and she was not allowed anyone else in the room with her....I actually was appalled, but apparently, so it is....)
(I was lucky, and my company was unionised, so I had a rep with me when I was made redundant - luckily it was very 'civilised' but I was reassured that I someone on my side who knew the law, and could ensure I got the best deal possible, which I did.)

Re: Juggling being a carer and working full time - employer being awkward

Posted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 10:25 am
by Jane_1602123
Thank you for the replies. Since posting I've taken some steps to try and make life easier at work - which is a company run by partnership - and I've approached one of the senior partners who is a member of the senior management team for his advice and guidance. He is someone who I respect a great deal and I know he will look at my situation impartially and will be constructive. I know he will tell me if he thinks I'm wrong. He is based at another office so is not responsible for overseeing the day to day running of our office/branch. My immediate supervisor is also a partner but is not part of the senior management team, though her husband is. The company as a whole is a great company to work for. My issues are with my supervisor and those who I immediately work with. After approaching the more senior partner he suggested I speak to my immediate supervisor and just be honest about my concerns and issues and to speak to him again if I needed to. I've done what he has suggested so it will be just time to see if she has listened and takes some positive steps. Since that conversation with my supervisor, the more senior partner has offered to speak to her and be constructive but I've asked him not to for the time being to see if things improve after get back from some annual leave that I'm now on but I've agreed that I will approach him again if I need to.

I will also speak to the Carers UK helpline as I do feel I'm at a crossroads in my life and I'm not sure which road to take.

Thank you all again. I will keep in touch with the forum.