A carer is someone of any age who provides unpaid support to family or friends who could not manage without this help. This could be caring for a relative, partner or friend who is ill, frail, elderly, disabled or has mental health or substance misuse problems. Most carers might not recognise themselves under the term 'carer' as they take it for granted that they should offer physical or emotional support to people they care about. The support may range from regular 'phone calls and visits to providing a home to the person.
Juggling work and care can be a challenge, but there are rights in the workplace which may make this easier and there is other support available. The School's Policy on the Support for Carers can be found here.
What are the rights for carers in the workplace?
Since April 2007 employees who are caring for a relative or someone who lives at the employee's address have the right to request flexible working. There is no automatic right to work flexibly and there may be circumstances where the School is unable to accommodate such a request. So please refer to the flexible working guidance to help you make the best case and increase your chances of a successful application. The guidance also includes case studies and types of flexible working.
Time off for emergencies involving a dependant
Employees have the right to take unpaid time off work in an emergency involving a dependant. The right is not for time off that can be pre-planned, such as hospital appointments, or for long-term care arrangements, such as nursing a sick relative but could be used if the normal day care arrangements break down. The School gives up to two days paid emergency leave per year which employees can apply for in circumstances not covered by compassionate leave.
If the caring responsibility is for a disabled child under 18 the employee can also apply for unpaid parental leave.
LSE Staff Counselling Service
Caring for others can be emotionally demanding so employees may find it helpful to seek confidential support from the Staff Counselling Service. The contact details are as follows: Telephone: 020 7955 6953, ext 6953. Email - firstname.lastname@example.org.
The School is committed to supporting staff in their wish or need to find balance between work and personal commitments, especially where caring for loved ones is concerned.
The Schools newly forming carers network is staff-guided and represents the interests of those with caring responsibilities, both formal and informal.
Joining the network is a great opportunity to help shape how the network will look and feel for the future, is an ideal way to access useful information that could make your caring responsibilities a little less stressful, as well as connecting with other staff around the School who are also carers.
Even if you are not a carer but someone very close to you is, there will most certainly be benefits for staff who are partners, close friends or relatives, colleagues or line managers of a carer, as a way of gaining insight and knowledge in this area and learn how you can best support them.
If you work at LSE and would be interested in expanding your support network or learn how to support others you know, why not reach out by joining the conversation by contacting Eleni Michael email@example.com from the HR Policy team to talk it through in confidence.
A Pocket Guide for Employees - Balancing work and being a carer
Employers for carers - Distance caring toolkit
Employer for carers - website guide
www.employersforcarers.org - the School subscribes to the national Employers for Carers network, established by Carers UK, which provides information directly to staff about balancing work and caring for dependents. The Employers for Carers site can be accessed by quoting the Schools membership number #EFC1190 when registering.
Carers direct (NHS) - information, support and advice for carers
Carers UK - advise in obtaining practical, emotional and financial support, including adirectory of national and local organisations and an online support forum
DirectGov (caring for someone) - government help and advise for carers
Working families - information and factsheets on employment rights, tax credits and in-work benefits