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Balancing working and caring responsibilities

If you’re working as well as caring for someone, it can be a lot to handle at once. But knowing your rights and the possible options for flexible working could help.

Flexible working

If you've been working for your employer for six months, you have the right to request flexible working arrangements to help you fulfill your responsibilities. Flexible working arrangements could help you find a work pattern that suits your caring role and gives you more time to take care of yourself, too.

You can make one request for flexible working per year. Though your employer doesn't have to say yes, they need a sound business reason for saying no – and, if needs be, you can ask again the following year. 

Your employer might suggest a trial of flexible working before making any arrangements permanent to see how it works for the organisation and for you. 

Flexible working might involve:

  • Working compressed hours. This is when you work the same number of hours but over fewer days – such as 8am to 6pm over four days rather than 9am to 5pm over five days.
  • Changing your working hours. Perhaps you could start work earlier or finish later to help you with your caring responsibilities.
  • Part-time working or job sharing. This is when you share your job with another colleague and split the hours between the two of you.
  • Location flexible working. Perhaps you could work from home all or part of the time, be on call from wherever you want to be based, or work in different branches of your organisation if you sometimes need to be near a relative, care home or hospital.

Find out more about flexible working

Time off in an emergency

You also have the right to time off in an emergency when it involves someone who's dependent on you – for example, your partner, your parent, or your child. If someone else relies on you for help, they may also count as a dependent.

Examples of when you might need to use this right include:

  • when your normal care arrangements have been cancelled or changed
  • if the person you care for dies, is ill, or has an accident
  • when you need time off to organise long-term arrangements for the person you care for.

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Last updated: Jun 14 2024

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