Juggling employment with caring has been a constant struggle for many working carers. With most carers taking on their responsibilities at the peak of their career, aged 45-60, the UK economy depends on employers retaining their staff. A lack of understanding about the pressures of caring means many are struggling to balance their competing responsibilities, with the No choice but to care report finding 48% of carers have had to give up or reduce work.

Nearly 2.5 million people in employment are providing unpaid care in England and Wales. YouGov polling has found that nearly half of current and former unpaid carers said caring had a negative impact on their job and ability to work, with 20% saying it had a 'very negative' impact. 

Nearly half of unpaid carers who had given up on or reduced their working hours had seen their income reduce by over £1000 per month. It's very clear that carers need much more financial and social support to manage these competing responsibilities. 

2023 was a big year for carer’s working rights, with the Carer’s Leave Act 2023 finally passing, giving carers the right to five days of unpaid leave for their caring responsibilities.

If you’re balancing paid work with caring, it is worth checking out your company’s policies and procedures regarding caring. As a working carer, you have a right to request flexible working and five days of unpaid time off following the Carer’s Leave Act 2023.

The Carers Week report found that in order to support unpaid carers’ health and wellbeing, the next UK Government should:

  • Raise the level of Carer's Allowance and other premiums, and reform eligibility rules, to enable more unpaid carers to access financial support. 
  • Remove the 21-hour study rule from the eligibility criteria to remove barriers to education.
  • Provide additional financial support to carers of State Pension age, including a new non-means-tested payment.
  • Protect carers from overpayments of Carers Allowance by digitising and simplifying the system. 
  • Make sure carers' pension futures are more secure, including not raising the State Pension age.

Read the report in full here