In a nutshell:
This section is all about keeping the calm between work and care and what’s good to know
- Balancing the two
- Flexible working
- Getting back to work
Out of the seven million of us providing care in the UK, around 61% are of working age. Sadly, 46% will give up work to continue with their caring role.
This section on Carers Club gives tips on how to balance the two so that you can continue to enjoy the income, companionship of colleagues, independence, skills and occupational pension that accompany a job.
Often, carers don’t notify their employer of the additional duties they have outside the work place, but this can often be the key to accessing support that can help. Your employer may have a scheme in place to support carers and your opportunity to change the way you work could be granted to allow you to have time for care and work.
Your first port of call should be your staff handbook, intranet or speaking to your:
- Line manager
- HR department
- Union or staff representative
A guide to flexible working from Carers UK:
The right to request flexible working has now been extended from some carers and parents to cover all employees with 26 weeks service or more. The request can cover changing hours, times or places of work.
Some employers provide better rights to flexible working than the basic rights outlined in this guidance so it’s a good idea to check your contract of employment as it may provide you with better entitlement.
The law gives you the right to make one application a year for flexible working so it is important that you put forward the best case you can. However, your employer may be sympathetic if you find your circumstances have changed and you need to make a further application.
You can read the full report on flexible working at Carers UK.
Getting back to work
If you’ve never worked due to caring roles or have taken time out from your working life to care, you may not know where to start when thinking about returning to work.
Carers UK have a great guide to help you that you can see here, in the meantime why not try thinking about the skills you already have and how you may use them in the world of work.
Ask people you know to offer you work experience or apply for unpaid work experience elsewhere if possible. You may even find it useful to ask friends and people you know to write short references for you explaining things you’re good at with examples. It doesn’t have to be work related, it may be that you have a great way of making people feel comfortable, or you may be extremely organised, don’t underestimate what an employer is looking for.
Your local college, library or community centre may also offer free courses to help you feel up to date with changes you may have missed; these are a great way to build confidence too.
Total Jobs offer a great template system to help with cover letters and CV writing. Their ‘returning to work’ examples may also be of use. You can access them here.
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