Thursday 23rd November is Carers Rights Day, this annual campaign is promoted by Carers UK who are joined by hundreds of organisations and thousands of individuals raising awareness of caring, helping to identify carers and signposting them to information, advice and support.
Whether you have recently become a carer, realised you have been caring for a while without support or have been caring for someone for many years, it’s important you understand your rights and are able to access the support that is available when you need it.
The theme of Carers Rights Day 2024 is “Your rights: today, tomorrow and in the future”
If you are an unpaid carer, you’re entitled to certain rights which may help you access services, look after your health and wellbeing or could provide vital information and support in looking after your partner, family member or friend.
Your rights, right now
Your right to a Carers Assessment
All carers are entitled to a Carers Assessment from their local authority - it doesn’t matter how much or what sort of care you provide. For more information about how a Carers Assessment could help click here.
If you think your assessment needs to be updated then please let us know.
Your right to request to be identified as a carer on GP records
As an unpaid carer you can ask your GP practice to identify you as a carer on your patient record. This means you can be called for flu jabs and other relevant public health campaigns. Some GP surgeries have a form on their website to help you register as a carer, if yours doesn’t the Carers UK website has some templates that you can use.
Your right to request a free flu jab
It’s essential to find ways to look after your health and wellbeing and one way is to exercise your right to request a free flu jab. If you are the main carer for an older or disabled person, who may be put at risk if you became ill, or if you are in receipt of Carer’s Allowance, you should be offered a free flu jab. Speak to your GP or local pharmacist. Carers are also a priority group for accessing Covid booster jabs this winter.
Your right to be consulted on hospital discharges
If the person you care for is being discharged from hospital, the hospital must identify and consult with you, where possible. This is part of the Community Care (Delayed Discharges etc.) Act 2003. Additionally the NHS Constitution recognises that patients and, where appropriate, their families and carers should be involved in and consulted on all decisions about a patient’s care and treatment.
Your right to not be discriminated against:
If you look after an older or disabled person, the Equality Act 2010 protects you against direct discrimination or harassment because of your caring responsibilities. The protection not only covers employment, but also goods, services, housing and other fields. Understanding your rights can be useful if you feel you have been treated unfairly because of your caring role – and you may also be protected under other laws including disability or sex discrimination legislation.
Your right to request flexible working:
If you are juggling work with your caring responsibilities, you have the right to request flexible working. Flexible working can include flexi-time, homeworking and job-sharing and can help you to juggle your work/care balance. Your employer has to consider this request but is not obligated to accept it.
If you want to know more about your rights as a carer get in touch to have a chat with a support worker.
New rights, right around the corner
The Carer’s Leave Act is something Carers UK has been campaigning for tirelessly for many years and they expect it will become law in 2024. It will give employees juggling work with unpaid care a legal right to request up to five days unpaid leave every twelve months, which will help many manage some of the day-to-day challenges of being a carer – enabling them to stay in employment.
With the introduction of the new Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act anyone, including unpaid carers, will be able to ask their employer for changes to their working hours, times of work, or place of work, from day one. And being able to ask for a different flexible working arrangement more than once a year will be a huge help too. The Act is expected to become law in 2024.
If you would like any further support or information don’t hesitate to get in touch.
If you want to know more about Carers Rights you can access a wealth of information online, below are some useful links: