Welcome to the place where you can find information about your rights at work when you are affected by cancer.
Today's Carers Rights Day; a day that aims to make carers aware of their rights, and to help them find out how they can access the support they’re entitled to. Whilst being a carer can affect you physically and emotionally, it can also have a big impact financially - for example you might struggle to balance your work life with caring for a loved one.
Our wonderful Work Support team have put together some tips and advice on how best to approach your work life as a carer:
The first thing to look at is who can be defined as a carer?
We may automatically think that this relates to people who care for young children or elder relatives, but it has a wider definition than this.
The Carer’s Trust refer to an NHS definition of a carer as:
“A carer is anyone, including children and adults who looks after a family member, partner or friend who needs help because of their illness, frailty, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction and cannot cope without their support. The care they give is unpaid.”
Carers who call the Work Support Service on our Support Line often have a lot of questions about balancing work and caring for a loved one.
Practical worries like attending medical appointments with the patient, taking time off, reducing or changing working hours or dealing with emergencies are raised regularly.
The law breaks down into two areas – statutory rights and contractual rights. Statutory rights are those defined in law and contractual rights are those that are either written into your employment contract or staff handbook.
With most work-related questions, the starting point is to ask HR or your manager – do we have a policy for carers?
Check your staff handbook and contract – can you find anything there? It is also worth looking at time off or leave policies because there might be special allowances for carers.
Once you know if your employer has any policies then this is the starting point for a conversation with your manager. What your contract says and what the law says might be different. Some employers are generous and supportive and give entitlement to compassionate leave and paid time off. For others you may be able to negotiate according to your circumstances. It’s important to note that the rights for employees and workers can be different.
What are your minimum rights as a carer?
You might also like to read our booklet Working Whilst Caring for Someone with Cancer.
If you do feel that you’d like support or more information, then please do call us on the Work Support Team on the Macmillan Support Line. Our number is 0808 808 0000, and we’re on option 1 followed by option 3, from 8am till 6pm, Monday to Friday.
If you’re a carer looking after someone with cancer, why not visit our carers only group to talk to other's who are going through, or have been through a similar experience to yourself. You can also find some advice on being a carer via our website.
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