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Working and caring

What’s the latest guidance for working carers?

Managing caring with paid work may now feel very different compared with times before the pandemic. 

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Can I negotiate working more flexibly during this time?

The government's guidance has changed recently, meaning that it is once again possible to carry out your job in the workplace, away from home. See this guidance for more information.

However, many companies and organisations have adapted their policies to enable more of their employees to work from home on an ongoing basis. 

Your employer should be able to provide specific guidance, but also bear in mind that, as a carer, you may have the statutory right to request flexible working. Check with your employer how they can support you with this. You can also use this form to apply. For more guidance, see this webpage.

If you have any concerns, we recommend that you speak to your employer to discuss what health and safety policies and procedures are in place to protect you. 

Innovate icon
Adviser tip
: "It is crucial to be clear on the outcomes you are hoping to achieve. You need to ask yourself what you are looking to change in your current working practices to provide that flexibility you need to balance work and caring tasks."


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When did the Coronavirus Job Retention scheme end and what help can I get now?

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ended on 30 September 2021. You can check a previous claim you've made here or access help and advice around finding work and training if you've faced redundancy here.


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What support is available if I lose my job or suffer a drop in income?

If you lose your job, there are a number of benefits you may become eligible for such as Universal Credit, Pension Credit or Carer's Allowance, depending on your circumstances. Perhaps a good place to start would be to request a benefits check with the guidance of our Helpline team at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

You could also try using the very useful Turn2Us online benefits check tool here: carersuk.org/benefits-calculator.

You can find out more about the financial assistance the government can offer here. There are also many other organisations that can provide sound guidance and support to help guide you. We have listed some sources of help here if you are worried about your finances and debt. For more information on benefits, please visit: gov.uk/browse/benefits.


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Can I still work from home?

The government guidance no longer states that everyone should work from home if they can. 

More specifically, you can find out about the rules in your area here and speak to your employer if you have any concerns about protecting someone who is vulnerable. Employers have a legal responsibility to protect their employees and others from risks to their health and safety, so they should be willing to put in place an arrangement that will be suitable.

If it is not possible to work from home, everyone should continue to take cautious hygiene measures.The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published guidance on protecting vulnerable workers, including advice for employers and employees on how to talk about reducing risks in the workplace.


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Am I still advised to stay at home if have COVID-19 symptoms?

As of 24 February 2022, you are no longer legally required to self-isolate if you test positive for COVID-19. However, the NHS states that if you test positive for COVID-19, you ‘should stay at home and avoid contact with other people’ to help reduce the spread of the virus. 

If you test positive, you should tell your employer as soon as possible and ask to work from home if you are able to. If you are unable to work from home, you might be able to claim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) from day one of sickness. The right to claim SSP from day one of sickness due to COVID-19 will end on 24 March, after which the right to claim SSP for COVID-related sickness will fall in line with any other sickness and you will be able to claim SSP from day four of sickness.

Your workplace’s usual sick leave and pay entitlements will apply. You should check your contract of employment to see if your employer offers contractual sick pay; this is usually on top of SSP. For further information on SSP eligibility, see this page: https://www.gov.uk/statutory-sick-pay/eligibility. If you are not eligible for SSP, you may be able to apply for Universal Credit or new-style Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

By law, for the first seven days of sickness, you are not required to provide medical evidence to your employer. After seven days, it is at the discretion of your employer to decide what evidence, if any, they need from you. 

The UK Government is introducing a day one right to one-week’s unpaid leave for carers balancing a job with caring responsibilities – read more.


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What are my rights?

As an employee, you also have a statutory right to take a ‘reasonable’ amount of time off from work:

  • To see to an emergency or unforeseen matter involving your partner, child, parent, grandchild, or someone who relies on you for care.
  • There is no fixed amount of time you can take off.
  • The time off is unpaid unless your employer is willing to give paid time off as a contractual right. 
  • Also check your work policy on care leave. ACAS has further useful information on taking time off to look after someone else. 

See the article below for some tips about working and caring during the current challenging times:

Innovate icon

 Read the guide: "Working and caring – COVID-19"

 

If you are at risk of redundancy, you can find some useful information about your employment rights at https://workingfamilies.org.uk/articles/coronavirus-furlough/. You may also find our work and career pages of interest.


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