Your rights and legislation

What are my rights as a carer?
There are some pieces of legislation which can be useful for all carers to know about when trying to speak up for or get the rights and services they are entitled to by law. These are:

  • Your right to an assessment
  • Your right to request flexible working
  • Your right to not be discriminated against

You can find out more about Carers Rights here.

Your right to an assessment
All carers have the right in law to have an assessment of their needs even if the person they care for refuses services. This assessment is potentially the gateway to accessing services from your local authority for you as a carer and goes alongside the Needs Assessment, for services for the person you care for. You can find out more about a Carers Assessment here.

Your right to request flexible working
The Work and Families Act extends the right to request flexible working hours to carers of adult partners or relatives, or an adult living at the same address. Your employer has to consider this request but is not obligated to accept it.

Your right to not be discriminated against
The Equality Act recognises the concept of ‘associative’ discrimination in relation to carers of disabled people. This means that it is illegal to be discriminated against because of your caring role, not only in relation to employment, but also in relation to goods, services, housing and other fields.

What is the mental capacity act and how does it relate to the person I care for and me?
The ability to make decisions is sometimes called mental capacity. There is a law – the Mental Capacity Act 2005 – which sets out what should happen in England and Wales if someone is unable to make a decision for themselves. As a carer of someone with a learning difficulty it is important for you to understand how the Mental Capacity Act applies to you when:

  • you want to support a member of their family to make a decision
  • you need to make a decision or act on your relative’s behalf
  • someone else (a paid worker or organisation) makes a decision or acts on behalf of your relative.

To find out what should happen in these situations see the download below: ‘Using the Mental Capacity Act – a resource guide for families and friends of people with learning difficulties’. This is a really useful information pack designed to help the family carers of people with learning disabilities understand how the Mental Capacity Act applies to them.

Mental Capacity Act Resource Guide

Where can I go to get legal support?
The Avon and Bristol Law Centre provides a free legal advice and advocacy service for unwaged and low paid people and for people experiencing unlawful discrimination. They can help people who live or work in Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.

Expert information support and advice on discrimination and human rights issues can be accessed by contacting the Equality Advisory & Support Service (EASS).