All Wales Forum and Carers Wales have teamed up to create a Working Carers Advisory group (WCAG) to help parent carers of loved ones with learning disabilities. They want to improve pathways to information, advice and support around training and employment.
At the first meeting in July 2022, the group identified a bunch of actions on both an operational and strategic level that both organizations could do to support family carers. Carers Wales has also found some existing resources on their online support that could help family carers, and both groups have agreed to make these resources more accessible and to raise awareness of them. We’re going to do this by delivering a communication and engagement plan, reviewing its effectiveness and developing priorities through future WCAG meetings.
So, the aim of this plan is to help family carers of people with learning disabilities access the materials and information on Carers Wales’s online resources.
Why is this important?
Well, being a carer is tough enough as it is, but for parents of children with learning disabilities, it can be even harder to find and keep a job because of their caring commitments. This can limit career and personal development opportunities, as well as affect their physical, mental and financial wellbeing.
To help address this issue, All Wales Forum will be creating a number of opportunities to raise awareness and guide family carers to Carers Wales’s Employment Hubs. They’ll also periodically review the effectiveness of the pathway through the WCAG meetings. Here are the ways they’re planning to do this:
AWF Quarterly Newsletter – with info and links about Carers Wales’s Employment Hubs (coming soon!)
Posts on AWF social media channels – encouraging family carers to get in touch about their experiences and asking if anyone would like to share their story on working alongside caring
Positive case studies of a parent carer talking about their experiences and skills – posted on AWF YouTube account
Employment information page on AWF website – with links to additional information, video and Carers Wales’s Employment Hub
AWF Digital Forum – with meeting notes from WCAG meetings and useful employment information in general
AWF Events – dedicated time at events to discuss issues pertaining to employment
Overall, we hope this is an initiative and we hope it’ll make a big difference for family carers of people with learning disabilities. Let’s spread the word and support this important cause!
Useful organisations for work and caring
- Carers Wales: This organization provides a range of information, advice and support for carers in Wales. They offer resources and advice on how to balance work and caring responsibilities, including information on flexible working and carer’s leave. They also have a helpline that provides support to carers in Wales.
- Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014: This act sets out the legal duties of local authorities and health boards in Wales to assess and support the needs of carers. The act requires that local authorities take a whole-family approach, which means they must consider the needs of the person being cared for and their family as a whole.
- Flexible working: Flexible working arrangements can be helpful for carers who need to balance work and caring responsibilities. In Wales, employees have the right to request flexible working arrangements, and employers have a duty to consider these requests.
- Carer’s Leave: Carer’s leave is an entitlement that allows employees to take time off work to care for someone who needs it. In Wales, carer’s leave is unpaid, but it can be a helpful way to balance work and caring responsibilities.
- Employers for Carers: This organization provides resources and support to employers who want to support their employees who are carers. They offer information on how to implement flexible working arrangements, provide information and advice to carers, and create a supportive workplace culture.
- Support from your employer: Employers have a duty to support employees who are carers. This can include offering flexible working arrangements, providing information and advice on caring responsibilities, and offering support and resources to help balance work and caring responsibilities.
- Advice from Citizens Advice Bureau: Citizens Advice Bureau provides free, confidential advice on a range of issues, including employment and caring responsibilities. They can provide advice on your legal rights and entitlements as a carer, and help you access support and resources.
Important Information and Links
Carers Wales – Working Carers Guide
Please find below the link to a guide from Carers Wales that may be useful to working carers.
There is also lots of information available to organisations who are looking to become more carer friendly as part of this push,
Working and caring for someone: https://www.nhsemployers.org/articles/supporting-staff-caring-responsibilities
Employers for Carers: https://www.employersforcarers.org/
Working Families – Caring for Someone: https://workingfamilies.org.uk/article-categories/caring-for-adults-and-disabled-children/
Carers Trust – Rights at Work: https://carers.org/downloads/resources-pdfs/working-for-carers/carers-rights-at-work.pdf
Age UK – Balancing work and caring: https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/care/helping-a-loved-one/juggling-work-and-caring/
These links provide information and support for people who are balancing work and caring responsibilities. They cover topics such as rights and entitlements for working carers, advice for employers, and resources for managing work and caring responsibilities.
DWP guides to working and benefits in Wales.
Carer’s Allowance: This is a UK-wide benefit that can help you if you’re caring for someone for at least 35 hours a week. You can get Carer’s Allowance if you’re working, but you must earn less than a certain amount. Here’s a link to the DWP’s page on Carer’s Allowance specifically for Wales: https://www.gov.uk/carers-allowance/eligibility-wales.
Universal Credit: If you’re working and caring for someone, you may be eligible for Universal Credit. This is a UK-wide benefit that helps people with low incomes, including those in work. Here’s a link to the DWP’s page on Universal Credit in Wales: https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit.
Employment and Support Allowance (ESA): If you have a health condition or disability that affects your ability to work, you may be eligible for ESA. This benefit is designed to provide financial support to people who are unable to work due to illness or disability. Here’s a link to the DWP’s page on ESA in Wales: https://www.gov.uk/employment-support-allowance.
Welsh Government’s Carers Information Service: This service provides information and advice to unpaid carers in Wales. They can help you understand what benefits you may be entitled to, as well as provide support and advice on a range of other issues. Here’s a link to their website: https://carerswales.org/.