9 rights you have as a carer that you might not know about
The theme for this year 's Carers Rights Day is ‘Know your rights’. With so many new and increased caring roles in 2020, it's a great moment to share some of the rights we have as carers.
1. A carers assessment
A carer’s assessment is a discussion with adult social services or a local carer organisation about your needs as a carer and what could make life easier. They're free and every carer over the age of 18 is entitled to one under the Care Act 2014. Carers assessments can recommend specific things for you in your caring role such as respite, benefits advice, training, access to other services and more. Don't forget we can also request another carer's assessment anytime if caring circumstances change.
Find out how other carers make the most of theirs: https://www.mobiliseonline.co.uk/post/making-the-most-of-carer-assessments
2. An annual flu jab
If you receive carers allowance or are the main carer for somebody who may be put at risk if you become ill, you could be entitled to a free annual flu jab. You can have your flu jab at your local doctor surgery or pharmacy. With the introduction of the vulnerable list relating to Covid, more people may be entitled to it this year, so it’s worth checking!
Here’s our handy blog on flu jabs: https://www.mobiliseonline.co.uk/post/have-you-had-your-flu-jab
3. A home assessment / needs assessment
Whilst this may not strictly be a ‘carers right’, carers are entitled to request a needs assessment from the local council on behalf of somebody who needs help in order to manage at home. These assessments are free too and anyone can ask for one. Following a needs assessment, the local council can recommend and provide specific services, equipment or home adaptations such as access to day centres, changes to your home like a walk-in shower, equipment and practical help from a paid carer.
For more information on these, check out this Carers FIRST article: https://www.carersfirst.org.uk/managing-at-home
4. Recognition of your role as a carer whilst the person you care for is in hospital
Whilst this can vary from hospital to hospital, some ways we know that hospitals do this include; carers passports, (extended) visiting hours and involvement in decision-making and care whilst the person is in hospital. There is also support available for the transition out of hospital, either home or into another facility. This year, hospital care looks very different to what it used to and carers are navigating the systems and processes in place. In the Mobilise Community Facebook Group carers share their thoughts, questions and experiences to help us in this challenging time.
5. A break
This one is a right and a reminder...we are entitled to a break! There are so many different types of breaks from a few hours to a break away. It can include sitting in services, day centres, care homes and supported holidays to name a few.
Just a note - local councils can fund these for those who have had an assessment which says they need it.
6. Other specific support for you and the person you care for
There are national and local schemes which you, as a carer might be able to apply for. For example, utility companies have priority lists for vulnerable people should an emergency occur, like a power cut. The government also offer financial support in the form of a winter fuel payment, which carers can apply for on behalf of the person they care for. In some local areas they also offer a carers prescription, which is a one off payment to help you in your caring role. It can be used for things like driving lessons, bus passes, something for the home or a treat / break from caring and more.
For working carers, these are some of the employment rights that could relate to your caring role.
7. Not to be discriminated against
As carers we have the right not to be discriminated against under the equality act 2010. You cannot be discriminated against based on your association with somebody who has a disability, which is a protected characteristic. This means our caring roles cannot be the reason that we are treated less favourably than colleagues. This also applies outside the workplace.
8. Flexible working
Whilst this may not be a right applied to all carers, many employers are able to offer flexible working to their employees. This also extends to flexible working conditions such as allowing a phone on the desk or answering calls from the work phone. It can also include adjustments to work times and flexibility to allow carers to take the person they care for, to appointments. It’s worth speaking to your employer about what they are able to offer.
9. Time off work to care for dependents
One of your employee rights is time off to deal with an emergency involving a dependent. A dependent could be your child, partner, spouse, parent or someone else who depends on you to provide care. There is no set amount of time which you can take off, as it depends on the situation, but the law says that you’re allowed ‘a reasonable amount of time’. This can be paid or unpaid leave and will depend on the employer.