Carers' rights

Information on carers rights, including carers rights in the workplace.

You are an unpaid carer if you look after, help or support someone who wouldn’t be able to manage everyday life without your help.

As an unpaid carer you should never be put in a position where your life, dignity or sense of self- respect are put at risk because of your role.

There are rights to make sure that this does not happen.

As an unpaid carer your rights include:

  • access to a local information and advice service
  • certain health rights. Make sure you register as a career with your GP. This will make sure they give you the support and flexibility you may need
  • ensuring you are consulted on services for you and the person you are caring for
  • access to support if you have eligible needs
  • ​being protected against direct discrimination or harassment because of your caring responsibilities
  • the right to a carer’s assessment if eligible
  • a needs assessment for the person cared for

Children and young people under 18, who are providing care, have the right to be assessed for support too.

Carers rights in the workplace

Protection from discrimination

If you are looking after someone who is older or someone who has an impairment, health condition, or is disabled you are protected under the Equality Act 2010 against discrimination. You also have rights such as paid or unpaid time off to care for people who depend on you.

Direct discrimination by association happens when you are treated less favourably than someone else because you are caring for an elderly or disabled person. This could include an employer:

  • refusing to offer you a job because of your caring responsibilities
  • refusing to give you the same opportunities as other colleagues because of your caring responsibilities

If you think you are being discriminated against at work because you are a carer, contact the Carers UK Advice Service or the ACAS Helpline who provide free and confidential employment advice.

Support from your employer

It's a good idea to check how your employer supports carers. Find out more by checking your contract, staff handbook, or your employer's intranet.

You can also speak to your manager, the Human Resources department in your organisation, or your trade union.

You do not have to tell your employer about your caring responsibilities. But you might find that if you tell your manager about your situation, they can help you manage your two roles.

For example, you will be entitled to unpaid time off if there is an emergency relating to your caring. Your employer might also give you time off (paid or unpaid) to cover intensive periods of care. Or in some jobs, your employer could support you to work more flexibly when you need to.

Asking for flexible working

The right to request flexible working has now been extended to cover all employees with 26 weeks service or more.

More information

The Employers for Carers organisation is committed to promoting the rights of carers in the workplace.

The ACAS Helpline provides free and confidential advice on all aspects of employment rights.

Carers UK has advice and information on your rights in the workplace as a carer, and maintaining a balance between work and your responsibilities as a carer.

The Carers Trust offers advice to carers on employment issues.