A working carer is a person who is in paid employment or self-employed and who cares for a relative or friend who is frail aged, has a disability or chronic illness/condition. They may work full-time, part-time or casually.
It is now widely known that many Carers are socially and financially disadvantaged because of their caring roles. Many Carers give up work or work part time so they can provide care. Hopefully, more respite options for working Carers and person-centred funding will make it easier in the future for Carers to combine work and care.
Before you reduce hours or quit work it is also a good idea to ask about flexible workplace options that might be available to you as these may allow you to keep your job AND provide care to your relative or friend. Other family members and friends may also be able to share your caring role so you can keep working. There may also be leave options available to you that will allow you to keep working such as temporarily reducing the number of hours you work, taking unpaid leave or using Sick Leave for the time you need for your caring role.
Most Carers, including working Carers, are protected against unfair treatment by NSW antidiscrimination law. Carers can now ask for flexible work place options such as working from home. It's good for you and your employer to know your legal rights from the start so that misunderstandings (such as other workers feeling they are disadvantaged) are avoided.
Caring can have a serious impact on your long term financial situation by decreasing your ability to:
Working Carers Gateway has advice for both working Carers and employers on these issues.
As a working carer your living expenses may be higher than other workers due to ongoing caring costs such as equipment hire and purchases, medical fees and medication, costs of transportation etc. Unless you are working very part time or casually you are unlikely to be eligible for a Carer Payment. However, you may be eligible for an Australian Government Carer Allowance. The Carer Allowance is not means tested although you will need to provide proof to Centrelink about the things you do for the person for whom you care and the amount of time providing care.
If you are a Carer facing financial difficulties or need a Nil interest loan the Salvation Army MoneyCare services may help. Visit their Community Welfare Centre at 30 Anglo Road, Campsie NSW, phone 02 9787 2333 or see Important Links.
The Salvo's - Financial Troubles