Making decisions about work

Some people will consider giving up work completely or taking early retirement to care for someone. This may have a big effect on your life in a number of ways. So it’s something you need to think about carefully before making a decision.

Giving up work will affect your finances – not only your income, but also your pension and any employee benefits you’re entitled to. Giving up work can also make you feel isolated, as you will lose the regular contact you had with your colleagues. It may also be difficult to keep your skills up to date and get back into the job market later on.

You may want to learn more about your rights as an employee and carer before making any decision. You may also find it helpful to talk to a financial adviser. You can call the Macmillan Support Line on 0808 808 00 00 to speak to one of our financial guides. Or you can contact the Carers UK advice line.

Before giving up work, you may want to think about the following questions:

  • Would requesting flexible working help you manage both working and caring?
  • Could you take a paid or unpaid break from work to think about your options?
  • Would taking a career break help?

If you’re self-employed, you will have more control over your working life than someone who is employed. But you won’t have the same rights and protection. You and your family may depend on the income from your business, too. This can put extra pressure on you as a carer.

If you plan to carry on working, there’s a lot of support and help available. We have information about self-employment and cancer. It’s written for people with cancer, but you may face some of the same problems.

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Your rights at work

It's important to be aware of your legal rights in the workplace. Your human resources department may be able to help you.