Carers' rights

Carers' rights

Carers make a huge contribution to society, but are often undervalued and poorly recognised. However, the situation is improving, and they do have rights, including under the Care Act of 2015. Find out more about your rights as a carer below.

If you’re a carer then you have certain rights.

You can read more in our ‘Carers’ Checklist‘ but the key issues are outlined below.

Carers’ Checklist Booklet

These include employment rights and the right to request a Carer’s Assessment.

Your rights under the 2014 Care Act

The Care Act of 2014 set out the responsibilities that local authorities, such as Surrey County Council (SCC) have to you as an adult carer.

Under this legislation Surrey County Council have a duty to offer you an assessment of your caring role and to provide you with the financial and practical support you might need. You can find more info on SCC’s support for adult carers on their website.

Young people’s rights under the Children Act 1989 and the Children and Families Act 2014

Under these Acts, young carers (under 18) have the right to an assessment, which will look at the impact of caring, and whether the young person wishes to continue caring – and if it’s appropriate for them.

When an adult is being looked after, the Council must consider any children potentially providing care. And they must actively seek potential young carers in their area.

Parent carers of children’s rights under the Children and Families Act 2014

The Children and Families Act 2014 amended the Children Act 1989, and required councils to assess parent carers of disabled children under 18, on the basis of ‘need’.

Read more about the rights of parent carers on Carer’s UK’s website.

Your employment rights

Additionally, if you’re a carer juggling work and with your caring role, then you also have employment rights. These include the right to request flexible working and the right to take unpaid time off during emergencies without affecting your employment.

It is also worth checking your contract as increasingly employers are recognising the value of supporting carers in their workforce and you might find that you are offered more generous terms.

From 2024, the new Carers Leave Act, means all unpaid carers will have the right to up to a week of unpaid leave to help with their caring responsibilities.

Read more about your employment rights, including the new Act, in our work and caring section.

The Equality Act

In the UK people have protection from discrimination in employment, in education and when receiving services.

They are protected from being discriminated against on the grounds of:

  • disabililty
  • age
  • race
  • sex
  • religion/belief
  • sexual orientation
  • marital status
  • gender reassignment

A carer cannot be discriminated against on the basis of their association with a disabled person.

What does this mean for carers?

Carers UK on their website, give some helpful examples:

For example, if you were refused entry to a pub because the person with you is disabled. Both the person you care for (with the disability) and you (the carer) would potentially have been discriminated against.

Another example might be if you were verbally abused by a shop assistant about your child’s mental health condition, then potentially you would have been discriminated against under the Act.

The Government, working with the Citizens Advice Bureau have a very helpful guide: The Equality Act: What do I need to know as a carer? which talks through the Act, different situations, and how you might take action if you think you have been discriminated against.

The Human Rights Act

The British Institute on Human Rights have information on how the Human Rights Act is relevant to carers and the people they care for. Download their ‘Pocket Guide for Carers’ from their website.

Find out more

More information related to your rights

completing carers assessment form

The Carer's Assessment

Find out more about the Carer's Assessment and how it can help you in your caring role.

coins piled on table

Money worries

Find out more about the benefits and payments that might be available to you as a carer.

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