Renfrewshire Council

Support for staff with caring responsibilities

Your rights as a carer, your rights at work, managing caring responsibilities and work, how managers can support you, the Carers Connected network, free counselling, online resources for carers and managers, 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 as a carer

Carers UK have produced a guide called Looking after someone for anyone caring for family or friends. The guide outlines your rights as a carer and gives an overview of the practical and financial support available. There is a version of the guide specifically for people in Scotland.

The Carer's charter from the Scottish Government also helps carers understand their rights under the Carers (Scotland) Act 2016.

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:

Support from your manager

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 manager and asking for that support can be daunting.

You can download and print the  Carer Passport [217KB] . It will help you have that important conversation about your caring responsibilities.

If you are a manager, you can also discuss your team member's options with them, like: 

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

The Carers 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 Forum

You can also contact Fiona Sinclair at about any ideas you have on how we can improve our support for staff with caring responsibilities.

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 0330 202 0283 for support now.

Online resources for carers

As the Council is a member of Carers UK, all our colleagues who are unpaid carers can now access the Digital Resource for Carers platform. It has lots of resources including:

  • an 'Upfront' guide to caring
  • the 'MyBackUp' tool to help you build a contingency plan
  • support for looking after your own health and wellbeing. 

To access the Digital Resource for Carers platform online, you'll need a free access code to set up your account. 

To get the code, please contact:

Our unpaid working carers also have free access to 'Jointly' - a mobile and online app that can help you coordinate and plan if you share caring responsibilities for the person you look after.  

Online resources for line managers and colleagues with employee wellbeing responsibilities

The Employers for Carers Digital platform is an online resource for staff who are line managers and staff with employee wellbeing responsibilities, such as HR, Diversity and Inclusion and Equality teams.

You can access case studies, legislation and model policies, good practice, e-Learning and essential guides for employers, line managers and working carers.

To get log in details for this website, contact:

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.