Carers Rights Day is an annual national awareness campaign organised by the charity Carers UK, which aims to reach as many of the 6.5 million carers in the UK as possible with information about their rights and the financial and practical help they are entitled to, including benefits such as Carer’s Allowance, breaks, and access to equipment and technology which can help them in their caring role. This year's Carers Rights Day campaign will focus on raising awareness of the rights that unpaid carers have. The pandemic has had a massive impact on the lives of carers, and it’s more important than ever that carers are aware of what they have the right to.

Carers have the right to... discuss flexible working options

Juggling work and care can be very challenging, so it’s important to understand the rights you have both in law and with your employer.

Your rights in work come from two sources:

  • the law gives you ‘statutory rights’ which everyone has
  • your contract of employment gives you ‘contractual rights’ which can be more generous than statutory rights.

If you're looking for information on your rights or how to prepare yourself to discuss flexible working with your employer, Carers UK have lots of information available for you.

Carers have the right to... protection from discrimination

If you look after an older or disabled person, the law - under the Equality Act 2010 - protects you against direct discrimination or harassment because of your caring responsibilities.

This is because you are counted as being 'associated' with someone who is protected by the law because of their age or disability. 

Carers UK have information available that explains discrimination by association and harassment, which may be useful if you feel you have been treated unfairly because of your caring role.

Carers have the right to... request a free flu jab

Worried about becoming ill and unable to cope this winter?

If you are the main carer for an elderly or disabled person, who may be put at risk if you became ill, you are eligible for a free flu jab, according to government policy. You are also eligible if you're receiving Carer's Allowance. If you feel this applies to you, you have the right to request one from your GP surgery or local pharmacist.

Carers have the right to... receive a Carer's Assessment

Many carers find it easier to continue in their caring role if they can get some assistance. If it appears that they have needs for support, they can have a Carer’s Assessment.

Local councils can provide care and support for people who require care, and their carers. The way they make a decision about the support that they can provide is by carrying out assessments.

Find out more about eligibility, the process for applying for an assessment and the sorts of support that might be available to you - read more here.

Carers have the right to... be identified as a carer

If you provide unpaid care, you can ask your GP practice to identify you as a carer on your patient record and might be called forward for flu jabs or other public health campaigns.

A number of GP surgeries have a simple form on their website to help you register as a carer, but we have heard that this is not always the case.

If yours doesn't have this form Carers UK have created a handy letter template that you can use to speak to your GP.

Carers have the right to... be consulted on hospital discharge

If you are an unpaid carer and the person you care for is being discharged from hospital, the hospital must identify and consult with you, where possible.

Carers UK has useful information on the discharge procedure, discharge assessments and other important things to think about if the person you care for is in hospital.

When you're caring, getting the right information at the right time can make all the difference.

Caring can be extremely complicated, whether we’re grappling with the benefits system or considering how to fund future care costs. Each strand is confusing but when all the strands are tangled, it can feel bewildering.

The Carers UK Helpline is here when you need expert information, advice and support about your rights, about financial and practical help available or about any other challenges caring can present.