Renfrewshire Council

Support at work for staff with caring responsibilities

Your rights at work, managing caring responsibilities and work, how managers can support you, the Carers Connected network, free counselling, the council as a Carer Positive employer.

We recognise that staff increasingly have caring responsibilities which sometimes can be challenging and may impact your ability to balance work and home life.

As a result of the coronavirus outbreak, many people are taking on more caring responsibilities for their relatives and friends who are disabled, ill or older and who need support. 

Unpaid carers need to be recognised for the difficulties they are experiencing, respected for all they are doing, and provided with information, support and understanding.

What a working unpaid carer is

Your rights at work

As a working carer, you have a right to:

  • request flexible working
  • time off in emergencies
  • request parental leave
  • protection from discrimination.

Managing caring responsibilities and work

There are lots of ways you can get support at work with your caring responsibilities.

This may include the need for time away from work, so you can balance your caring responsibilities with your job. You could:

  • apply for carer's leave
  • apply for special leave
  • use your annual leave or additional annual leave
  • discuss flexible working arrangements with your manager
  • use flexitime if it's available to you
  • make short term informal arrangements with your manger about when and where you work, such as working from home.

It can also help if:

How managers can support you

We know that supporting our colleagues with caring responsibilities is an important part of living our values. But we also recognise that reaching out to your manger and asking for that for that support can be daunting.

That's why we have developed the Carers Passport [217KB] which you can download and print. It will help you and your manager have that important conversation about your caring responsibilities.

If you're a manager, you can support staff with caring responsibilities by taking the 'Caring and work: an introduction' course on iLearn. You'll find it in the Leadership and Management section under Policies and Procedures. 

You can also discuss your team member's options with them, such as carer's leave or flexible working arrangements or taking carer's leave, special leave, annual leave or using flexitime.

If your team member has asked for paid or unpaid leave for caring duties, you can email Fiona Sinclair in HR and OD at if you need advice about their request.

The Cares Connected Forum

Carers Connected is a council network for people who:

  • manage both work and caring responsibilities or
  • support a family member or work colleague who has caring responsibilities.

Find out more about the Carers Connected network

Time for Talking employee counselling service

If you are struggling with caring and work, you can contact our employee counselling service, called Time for Talking. It is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with free, confidential support from professional counsellors. 

The counselling service is currently available by telephone or Skype. You can find out more about it on the Time for Talking website or call 0800 970 3980 for support now.

We are Carer Positive

Carer Positive is a Scottish Government funded initiative which recognises employers who offer the best support to working carers, allowing employees the flexibility they need to provide care at home for their loved ones.

The Council has now achieved the 'Exemplary' level of Carer Positive in recognition of our modern and flexible workplace practices, our carers leave policy and our Carers Connected network. These all help to create a culture of positive support for working carers. 

Find out more about the initiative on the Carer Positive website.