Know your rights as an unpaid carer

Carers Rights Day is an annual campaign for unpaid carers and takes place on 26th November 2020. Every carer has rights and there is help and support available. The day helps to raise awareness of carers and the rights that they are entitled to.

There are an estimated 68,000 unpaid carers in East Sussex, with around 34,000 additional carers as a result of the pandemic. Many carers are not aware of their rights or what support they are entilied to. The Car Act 2014 provides carers with certain rights, and whether they are a new carer or have been caring for someone for a while, it is important that carers understand their rights and are able to access the support that is available when they need it.

Carer's Assessment

A carer can be looking after a family member, partner, friend or neighbour who cant manage without help. Carers can approach Adult Social Care for the East Sussex and ask for a Carer's Assessment.

Where a carer is sharing caring responsibilities with another person including a child under 18, a carer can each have a Carer's Assessment. They can have an assessment even if the person they care for does not meet the eligibility criteria, or has chosen not to seek support from Adult Social Care.

Flexible working and taking time off in emergencies

If a carer is working, unpaid carers have the right to request flexible working, time off in emergencies and parental leave.

The employment Rights Act 1996 gives all employees the right to take a 'reasonable' amount of time off work in order to deal with an emergency involving the dependent. It is at the discretion of the employer whether or not the time off is paid or unpaid. If a carer is an employee with 26 weeks continuous employment at the time, they can have the right to request flexible working. They also have the right not to be discriminated against or dismissed because they have made the request.

Financial entitlements

It is important to know what benefits a carer and the person they care for are entitled to. it might make a difference to pension entitlements in the future or bring in extra money to help pay for care.

Flu jab

A carer is entitled to a free flu jab each year if they receive a carers allowance or are the main carer for an older or disabled person who may be a risk if they get sick.

Care for the Carers is the Carers Centre for East Sussex, and there is further information about carers rights available on their website:


They can help carers understand their rights and support carers to access the health and social care services they need. Get in touch with them on 01323 738390, email, or text 07860 077300. You can read the 'Do you look after someone' booklet from East Sussex County Council here