Working Carers - Entitlements
If you are working outside the home and also caring for someone in the home, it can be difficult at times to accommodate these competing responsibilities. You may need support and understanding to manage these competing demands. It can help if your employer is made aware of your caring responsibilities, so they may offer you the necessary flexibility and understanding to help you juggle these demands. This section explores the options and supports available to you if you are working and also provides some direction if you are entering or re-entering the workforce.
Working & Caring
One option is to consider taking Carer's Leave which allows employees in Ireland to leave their employment temporarily to provide full-time care for someone who is in need of full-time care and attention. The minimum period of leave is 13 weeks and the maximum period is 104 weeks.
The legislation ensures that those who propose to avail of Carer's Leave will have their jobs kept open for them for the duration of the leave. If you take Carer’s Leave you may be eligible for Carer's Benefit if you have enough PRSI contributions. If you do not qualify for Carer's Benefit you may qualify for Carer's Allowance which is a means-tested payment. You can take Carer's Leave even if you do not qualify for either of these payments. Citizens Information and the National Employment Rights Authority also provide some background information on the Carer's Leave Act.
Grief at Work published by the Irish Hospice Foundation outlines how employees can be supported so that they can manage their care giving-role or the impact of bereavement as well as their work demands. The PDF of this publication is available here:Grief at Work IHF.pdf (0.96 MB, Adobe PDF)
If you are caring for a child with a life limiting illness, remember that your entitlement to Parental leave (14 weeks per child) may be taken up to the child’s 16th birthday.
For parents of children with a disability Domiciliary Care Allowance may be available.
You may decide that you wish to reduce the number of hours you are working, and this will need to be negotiated with your employer. You may qualify for Carer's Allowance or Carer's Benefit if you work up to 15 hours a week and your earnings are under a threshold set by the Department of Social and Family Affairs.
Alternatively you might wish to seek leave of absence, and again this would need to be discussed with your employer.
If you decide that you no longer wish to remain in employment remember that you may be entitled to Carers Benefit for the first two years, and Carers Allowance for further years.
ENTERING OR RE-ENTERING THE WORKFORCE
If you are thinking about entering or re-entering the workforce, and you need help looking for a job, by registering as unemployed you can access various training programmes and back-to-work schemes even if you are not eligible for a job seeker's payment. FÁS provides information on training and support, as well as specific guidance and information on career direction.
A trade union will also be able to give advice and support in the workplace and the National Employment Rights Authority provides a wide range of information on rights related to employment