Financial support for carers

The Northern Health and Social Care Trust work in partnership with Carers NI. Carers NI provide information, advice and support to carers, facilitate Carer Support Groups throughout the Northern Trust and co-deliver training for Trust staff. Carers NI also operate an advice line Monday to Thursday from 10am – 4pm, if you would like advice on rights and entitlements, tel: 028 9043 9843 or email 

Lyn Campbell is the Information & Development Officer in our area for Carers NI if you would like more information and support, tel: 028 9043 9843 or email:

Help as a working carer

Caring for someone with cancer may impact on your working life.  It may be hard to know what your rights are as a working carer or find the balance between working and caring, but there is help available.

Working while caring

You may be feeling unsure about whether to stay at work, leave or return to work. You may be self-employed and wondering if you can run a business and be a carer. Remember, you can take your time when making these decisions.

Speak to organisations that can give you independent advice.  Having as much information as possible about your rights, who can support you and the options that are available to you is invaluable.

You will also find that speaking openly with the person you are caring for can help. They may surprise you with their thoughts on the situation.  Many patients see that work is something that provides carers with a release from their caring role. Whatever you decide to do, make sure it is the right thing for you as well as the patient.

For more information on working and caring please see the ‘Looking after someone’  leaflet or see the Macmillan resources, ‘Working while caring for someone with cancer’ and ‘Questions for carers to ask about work and cancer’

Your employment rights

Most working carers now have the legal right to request a flexible working pattern from their employer to help them to balance their work and caring responsibilities.  There is a set procedure that employers must use to consider such requests.  As a carer, you have this right if:

  • you are an employee, and
  • you have worked for your employer for at least 26 weeks, and
  • you are a parent with a child(ren) under 17 or a disabled child(ren) under 18 or
  • you are caring for an adult (aged 18 or over) who lives at the same address as you. If the person doesn’t live with you then they must be a relative (the definition of relative is precisely defined in law as follows: parents, adult child (aged 18 or over), adopted adult child, siblings, uncles, aunts or grandparents. This includes all step-relatives, parents-in law and siblings-in-law).

Last updated July 2018.