You need to know your rights wherever you are in your caring journey: whether you are in the workplace, in a healthcare setting, when interacting with professionals or at home.
We want to empower you with information and support, so you can feel confident asking for what you need. We also want you to know how to challenge things when your rights are not being met.
Helping you to continue caring and look after your own wellbeing
The Care Act gives you rights as a carer so that you can get the support you need to help you continue caring and look after your own wellbeing. You have the right to:
- Have your views taken into consideration by health and social care services when supporting or treating the person you care for;
- Have an assessment of your own needs as a carer (either jointly with the person you care for or separately);
- Specific advice and information for carers that you can understand;
- Have your say if you are no longer prepared to care, or are not prepared to do an element of caring;
- Be helped to develop a carer’s support plan;
- A personal budget to meet any ‘eligible needs’;
- A choice as to how your personal budget is managed.
To discuss your caring situation and what support is available to you call Carer Support Wiltshire now on 0800 181 4118 to arrange a chat with one of our friendly staff.
You can also find lots of useful advice on the resource section of our website.
Help from your employer
You don’t have to tell your employer about your caring responsibilities, but if you’re an employee, your employer must offer you certain legal rights. These include:
- You have the right to ask your employer for flexible working if you’ve worked there longer than six months and haven’t made the same request in the last 12 months;
- You have the right to a ‘reasonable’ amount of time off in the case of an emergency involving a dependent. This is sometimes known as Carers Leave and is unpaid unless your contract states otherwise;
- If you are looking after a child under 18 then you are entitled to 18 weeks’ unpaid parental leave per child.
Your employer isn’t obliged to offer you more than your legal rights, but some workplaces have policies that might give you more support or time off, for example through applying for a career break. Check with your employer or HR department to find out more.
ACAS has some useful advice on workplace rights www.acas.org.uk/advice
Citizens Advice also has advice on:
Protection from discrimination
You’re protected from discrimination because of your caring responsibilities. For example, you can’t be refused a promotion at work because of your caring responsibilities.
If you think you’ve been treated unfairly because you’re a carer, Citizens Advice has some useful advice www.citizensadvice.org.uk/law-and-courts/discrimination/
Help with money
You may be able to get help to increase your income if your caring duties are affecting your finances.
Depending on your income, assets and living arrangements, you might be able to:
- Apply for Carer’s Allowance and other benefits;
- Get help with paying for prescriptions and other healthcare costs from the NHS low income scheme;
- Cut down your household costs, including gas and electricity bills, a free or discounted TV licence from TV Licensing or council tax discounts;
- Have your contributions towards your state pension covered by the government if you’ve given up or cut down paid work to care for someone – Carers UK has advice to help you protect your pension.
The Money Advice Service also has advice for carers.
Help for the person you’re caring for
Making sure the person you’re caring for gets all the social care and support they’re entitled to could mean your role as a carer is made easier. They’re entitled to get a care needs assessment from the council. Depending on the person’s situation they may also be able to:
- Claim benefits;
- Make arrangements for you to look after their affairs, for example through power of attorney;
- Complain about the social care and support services they’ve received.
How to raise concerns if your rights aren’t being met
- Share your views on support for carers in Wiltshire with us;
- Share your views on your health and social care experiences – www.healthwatch.co.uk
- Making a complaint about the NHS – www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/about-the-nhs/how-to-complain-to-the-nhs/
- Making a complaint about adult social services – https://adults.wiltshire.gov.uk/Information/making-a-complaint