Work if you are a young carer

If you are working, even if it is just part-time, you might decide to tell your manager or someone else at work that you are looking after someone with cancer.

Here are some reasons why you may want to tell someone at work about your situation:

  • If you get upset at work, they will be able to support you better.
  • They will understand if you have to miss work or are late.
  • They may be able to give you time off, or arrange for you to work flexible hours.
  • If you work shifts, they could arrange your shifts to fit around your responsibilities 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 work, in case they think you can’t do your job properly. You may think that you will lose your job if you tell your boss that you are a young carer. In the UK, if you are the main carer for someone who has cancer, it is 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. You might want to go to work and just be normal. For some people, having a part-time job is a good chance to get out of the house and do something for themselves. It means having a place where you don’t have to think or talk about cancer.

Carers Trust has produced a free guide called Getting into work: a guide for young adult carers in England. It includes advice on how to deal with problems finding and staying in employment, how to find a job, how to apply for jobs, and how to speak to your employer about being a carer.

Time off work

If you are the main carer for someone who has cancer, you could get paid or unpaid leave from work to look after them. You can find out more at

You can also call the Macmillan Support Line on 0808 808 00 00 to speak to a cancer support specialist. They will be able to talk you through what time off you are entitled to at work.

Back to If you're supporting a loved one

Your rights at work as a carer

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

Making decisions about work

If you’re a carer you may want to stop working temporarily or completely. It’s important to consider the implications of your decision.