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Leaving work

  • Overview

Thinking of leaving work?

Juggling work and caring can be a challenge. You may find it too difficult to do both and decide to give up work. Before you do, you may want to consider the alternatives.

You may not have to give up work completely. You don't have to tell your employer that you're a carer, but if you do they may be able to help. Many employers value good employees and don't want to lose them so may agree to let you continue working under different conditions. This might include:

  • flexible working, where you adjust your working hours to start or finish later than other employees,
  • working part-time, where you reduce your working hours, or
  • working from home sometimes.

How to approach giving up work

You may have tried the options above but still find it too difficult to combine working and caring. You may want to consider giving up work altogether so you can be a full-time carer. Before deciding to resign, talk to your employer. They may agree to:

  • a career break, in which you go on unpaid leave for a period of between six months and three years, 
  • voluntary redundancy, where your company is thinking of making someone redundant and you ask to be considered, or
  • early retirement.

Do you want to care full time?

Being a full-time carer may provide the solution for you and the person you're looking after. However, you may miss the social contact you get from talking to others at work. There are many organisations for carers, such as Carers UK or Carers Trust, that offer support and can put you in contact with local social networks.

Your financial situation

If you leave work to become a full-time carer you may find you don't have as much money as when you were working. If you spend 35 hours or more a week providing care, you may be eligible for Carer’s Allowance, whether you're working or not. There are also other benefits you may be entitled to, such as:

For more information, go to the section on Benefits for carers.

Resigning from work

If you feel that you can no longer combine employment and caring, and options such as flexible working, part-time hours or working from home are not available to you, you might choose to resign from your job.

Think carefully about why you are deciding to resign before you formally hand in your resignation. Consider whether resigning is the right thing to do and consider whether you will be financially stable. You might want to think of alternative employment options. You have to take a lot of things into consideration before ending your employment, such as your family, friends, social life and the person you care for. You may want to discuss it with friends, trusted work colleagues or even informally with a manager at work.

If you decide to resign, inform your employer in a clear statement either verbally or in writing. Putting your resignation in writing is always a good idea, although it is not mandatory. As long as you've given notice in accordance with the terms of your contract, your employer must accept your resignation.

If you've worked for your employer for a month or more, you must give at least one week's notice by law. Check your employment contract in case your employer demands a longer notice period. Remember, your resignation can't be taken back, unless your contract allows it or your employer agrees.


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Page last reviewed: 19/08/2013

Next review due: 19/08/2015

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