Work and money when you are a young carer
If you’re working, even if it’s just part-time, you may decide to tell your boss or someone else at work that you’re helping care for someone with cancer.
Written by people who've been in your shoes
The advice in this section has been written by people who are under 18 and caring for someone with cancer. You can download their complete handbook - A guide for young people looking after someone with cancer [PDF, 2.52 MB].
Here are some reasons why you may want to tell them:
- If you get upset at work, they will be better able to support you.
- They will understand if you have to miss work.
- They may be able to give you time off.
- If you work shifts, they could arrange your shifts to fit around your chores at home.
- Depending on what job you do, you may be able to do some work at home.
You may be worried about telling your boss, in case they think you can’t do your job properly. You may think that you’ll get the sack if you tell your boss that you’re a carer. In the UK, if you’re the main carer for someone who has cancer, it’s against the law for anyone to treat you badly at work because of your circumstances.
Of course, you may choose not to tell anyone at work that you are a young carer. Some of us didn’t, because we wanted to go to work and just be normal. We found that having a part-time job was a good chance to get out of the house and do something for ourselves. We wanted work to be somewhere where we didn’t have to think or talk about cancer.
Time off work
If you’re the main carer for someone who has cancer, you could be entitled to paid or unpaid leave from work to look after them. You can find out more about your legal rights as a carer at work.
You could also call the Macmillan Support Line on 0808 808 00 00 to speak to a cancer support specialist. They’ll be able to talk you through what time off you’re entitled to at work.
If you’re over 16 and a young carer, you may be entitled to certain benefits, including Carer’s Allowance or Carer’s Credit. If you’d like to know more about these and other benefits, you can call Macmillan’s cancer support specialists on 0808 808 00 00 and they will be happy to help. Or you can call the Carer's Allowance Unit on 0845 608 4321 or textphone 0845 604 5312.