Some older workers may find themselves 'sandwich carers' - being caregivers for both older and younger family members, relatives and friends. While caring for others can be deeply rewarding it can also be challenging - particularly when you're having to juggle caring responsibilities and work. The university has a number of policies in place to help support you support those you care for.
In 2019, the Carers Policy was launched - hear Peter Aitchison, Director of Communications and Public Affairs at the University of Glasgow, discuss his experience of being a carer for his son, David: Carers Policy
CARERS SUPPORT SNAPSHOT
Eligible staff may request:
- Up to 3 days paid 'Emergency Time Off to Care for Dependants' Leave
- Up to 5 days paid Carers Leave (then up to 4 weeks unpaid leave)
The University maintains a Carers Register and staff must opt-in to this to utilise Carers Leave.
Other supports are available, including Flexible Working, the University's Employee Assistance Programme and Togetherall.
Flexible working and caring
As well as the Carers' Policy the Flexible Working Policy might be of help in your role as a carer; allowing you find ways to work and provide care which fits your own particular circumstances.
- Flexible working arrangements give a degree of flexibility around the working pattern, location and/or the number of hours an individual works, subject to the organisational requirements of any given role
- Flexible working arrangements vary by their very nature with some requiring changes to contractual terms and conditions (e.g. changing hours or days worked) and some requiring no such change (e.g. working flexible hours).
- Arrangements may also be permanent or temporary/ad-hoc/irregular (e.g. working from home for a specific task or adopting a different arrangement for a limited period (e.g. to support with caring responsibilities).
- The University intends for agile and flexible working approaches to be as accessible as possible to all employees whilst ensuring that statutory rights are preserved, therefore the process to be followed when requesting a new arrangement (Section 5) should reflect the circumstances of the request.
In the first place, if you want to consider options for flexible working, you might want to talk to an HR or Trade Union representative and then have an early discussion with your line manager. You can request informal, ad-hoc/irregular flexible working and a foraml approach if your request will require a change in your terms and conditions (for example, because of a change in your working hours or days).
This video by Carers UK gives some useful advice about how to start the conversation about flexible working:
In addition to flexible working and emergency time off to care for dependents staff who are registered through the Employee Self-Service Portal as carers may be entitled to Carers Leave. Carers Leave allows for up to 5 days paid leave and then up to 4 weeks unpaid leave. Carers Leave can be used for supporting non-emergency/ planned elements of their caring responsibilities, such as:
- supporting dependants at or around hospital or other care related appointments
- attending care related training (e.g. how to administer medication)
- being present for the design/installation of adaptations to a dependant’s living space
- supporting dependants around an emergency which has continued beyond the 3 days covered by Emergency Time Off to Care for Dependents Leave
Carers Leave is available on a per year basis and is pro-rated for part-time staff.
To use carers leave, carers must have previously registered on the University’s Carers Register. This can be done through the Employee Self-Service Portal by accessing ‘My Profile’ >‘Diversity’ > ‘Background’ then marking ‘Yes’ in the ‘Are you a Carer?’ field under ‘Family Details’.
Caring in an emergency
Up to three paid days leave may be requested for emergency time off to care for dependents. This policy can only be used in specific circumstances, examples include:
- Provide assistance on an occasion when a dependant falls ill, gives birth unexpectedly or is injured or assaulted;
- Make arrangements for the provision of care for a dependant who is ill or injured;
- Deal with an unexpected disruption or breakdown in care arrangements for a dependant, for instance when a nurse or child minder fails to turn up or due to school closure etc;
- Deal with matters in consequence of the death of a dependant (reference to the Bereavement Policy may be applicable here depending on circumstances).
After the immediate emergency has been dealt with any further tme off would need to be taken as annual or unpaid leave.
Staff needing emergency time off, should inform their line manager as soon as possible, explaining the reason for the absence and how long they expect to be away from work and should be requested/recorded in the normal way through the CoreHR self service system.