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I'm a carer: How can I discuss this with my employer?

As part of our support for Carers Week (7-13 June), we consider how a carer might approach a conversation with their employer about balancing their caring role with work.

A carer is someone who assists another person with the activities associated with daily living. Therefore, anyone and everyone can be a carer and most likely will be one at some stage during their life.

Carers have to learn to balance the needs of the individual(s) they are looking after with their own personal life, family and work. If you are a carer, it is entirely up to you if you want to discuss this with your employer. It may be a good idea to be open and honest with your employer, as extra support may be made available. For example, they may be more understanding and sympathetic if you perhaps needed time off with only short notice.

Key tips for discussing your carer status with your employer:

  • Make sure the location for the discussion is private so you can discuss in an open and free way.
  • Think about the adjustments that you would like from your employer (e.g. understanding when you must take holiday at short notice).
  • Write everything down that you want to say before the meeting, and make notes during the meeting of any suggestions your employer makes, you can keep this as a record going forward.

Some carers may feel concerned, or even guilty about disclosing their carer status, in fear of needing extra support, being worried how their colleagues will react and not wanting to let their team down. This should most definitely not be the case. It is worth noting that most people will be carers at some stage in their lives, whether this be for children or elderly parents – other colleagues may well be able to understand and share similar experiences.

Many employers have also benefitted from the valuable skillset their carer employees can possess, good time-management skills and the ability to stay focussed under pressure being potential examples of transferable skills that can be utilised in the workplace, and that can be explained and emphasised to your employer.

Here at Fosters we have a specific carers and flexible working policy to help colleagues balance any commitments, as well as having staff volunteers who are Well-being Champions for all colleagues to be able to confidentially share concerns and challenges. It’s always worth reviewing your contractual rights and speaking to your employer to understand any benefits specific to your work-place.

This article has been produced for information purposes only by our Employment team and should not be construed or relied upon as specific legal advice.

If you are a carer and feel that you need some advice about raising your carer status at work or have any issues at work, please feel free to get in touch with Lucy Warren in our Employment team here at Fosters. Please contact us on 01603 620508.

This article was produced on the 11th June 2021 by our Employment team for information purposes only and should not be construed or relied upon as specific legal advice.