As we mark Carers Rights Day, education and awareness are key in ensuring unpaid carers get the support they need and deserve.
Every year on Carers Rights Day, organisations around the UK shine a much-needed spotlight on the hidden workforce in society: the unpaid carers who dedicate time and energy to supporting their loved ones. This day, marked on the 23 November, can be essential for millions of unpaid carers in the UK. It’s a day to acknowledge their invaluable contributions, raise awareness about their rights, and offer essential support and resources.
Carers Rights Day is crucial because it provides a platform for unpaid carers to learn about their rights, access the support they deserve, and connect with their own community. With carers often going unrecognised, their efforts can take a physical, emotional and financial toll. Although the support available can’t solve this, it can help people feel less isolated and, in some cases, aid their financial situation.
The day also plays a vital role in helping people to identify themselves as unpaid carers. Research by Carers UK released in June 2023 found that 73 per cent of people in the UK who are providing, or have provided, unpaid care have not identified themselves as a carer. Without doing this, millions of people could be cutting themselves off from necessary support.
Unpaid carers play a crucial role for the UK’s healthcare and social care systems, and the lives of those they care for. Understanding your rights as an unpaid carer can have a positive impact financially, in work, and in day- to-day life.
If you have identified yourself as a carer, you can apply for Carer’s Allowance: a financial benefit for those caring for someone for at least 35 hours a week and meeting certain eligibility criteria.
Unpaid carers also have the right to request flexible working arrangements from their employers, and currently, a new Bill is making its way through the UK Parliament to give a legal right to carer’s leave, helping people to remain in employment despite their caring role. Until this comes into place, carers are protected from discrimination in the workplace under the Equality Act 2010.
Carers Rights Day plays a pivotal role in spreading awareness of these rights and helping carers understand how to access the support and benefits they are entitled to.
Whether you want to find more information on carers’ rights, or you would like to raise awareness of the day itself, there are a host of carers support organisations ready to offer support.
Carers Count, Carers UK, Carers Trust and Carers First all provide essential information and services for unpaid carers, hosting events, giving guidance, and even offering things like emergency planning in case you are temporarily unable to care for your loved one.
On 23 November, Carers Rights Day will provide a chance to celebrate and support unpaid carers, but it
is also a day to raise awareness about their rights, provide them with the information they need, and ensure that they are recognised and appreciated for their invaluable contributions.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Check if you are entitled to any benefits due to being a carer at www.gov.uk.