There are currently over three million working carers in the UK (Carersuk.org), juggling work and caring responsibilities and now in the most challenging of circumstances too. My experience working in Human Resources means I can give you some standard information about your rights at work, which come in two forms:
• Statutory rights
• Contractual rights
Statutory rights are those imposed by government and UK law and contractual rights are those contained in your terms and conditions of employment. The most prominent of those statutory rights is the right to request flexible working.
My experience of flexible working requests are usual from employees looking to reduce their hours or change their shift patterns to give a better work life balance however, all employees who have worked for over 6 months with the same employer are entitled to make a request (providing that they have not done so in the last 12 months). But there are many examples of working more flexibly that in my experience, people forget. For example, I am currently working from home and have been for the last 3 months, so there is clearly an ‘argument’ here that this could be a more flexible way of working. Part-time, term-time and working annualised hours are also valid examples of how an employee may be able to work flexibly.
If you want further information on your companies policy around flexible working practices, my advice is to check through your contract, offer letter, staff handbook (if you have one) and any HR policies that are in place. If you are struggling to find the information that you need, speak to your line manager or HR representative in the first instance and for further advice try carers UK.org if you having caring responsibilities or gov.uk for general flexible working guidance.