RAF: I am a carer. I also have a career.

Monday 5th June 2023

Every year, Carers Week raises awareness of the experiences, responsibilities, and challenges of being a carer and recognises their valuable contribution. This year, Carers Week takes place from Monday 5 June to Sunday 11 June, with the theme ‘recognising and supporting carers in the community.’

Defence strives to provide a supportive workplace for carers, offering a whole range of support, information, and guidance for carers and their managers.

Who is considered a carer?

Because people don’t always think of themselves as a carer, they can miss out on vital information and support.

The definition of a carer is this: A carer is anyone, including children and adults, who looks after a family member, partner or friend who needs help because of their illness, frailty, disability, mental health problem or addiction and cannot cope without their support. The care they give is unpaid.

Guidance and support for all carers in Defence

Employers for Carers platform

There are 5.7 million unpaid carers across the UK, and one in seven of them are juggling work and care, and the many challenges that can come with it.

Military and civilian personnel can find a range of resources and advice for carers, and colleagues that manage/support carers, on the Employers for Carers (EfC) platform.

This platform is free and available to everyone in Defence. You can sign up and become a member using the relevant membership code below:

  • British Army – #EFC2714
  • Royal Air Force – #EFC2715
  • Royal Navy – #EFC2716
  • MOD Civilian – #EFC2713

The Discover My Benefits website

Civilian and Service personnel can find out about the support and benefits available to them and their families on the Discover My Benefits website>

Get a carer’s assessment

Anyone who needs help coping with their day-to-day caring responsibilities is entitled to a carer’s assessment from their local council. This assessment may be referred to slightly differently across the UK, but all are designed to explore the kind of help you need as a carer.

To find out more about carer’s assessments across the UK, including how to request and prepare for one, visit the Carers UK website. To find local care services in your area, visit the Carers Trust website>

Carers UK, the charity

Carers UK provides information and advice on the different aspects of caring, and explains how to access workplace, financial and wellbeing support.

Guidance and support for all civil servants who are carers

The Carer’s Passport and Carers’ Charter helps carers balance their work and caring responsibilities. It also minimises the need for carers to repeat discussions with new managers or when moving post.

The Carer’s Passport

The Carer’s Passport enables a carer and their manager to have (and record) supportive conversations on the flexibilities they need. The Passport also minimises the need to re-negotiate the flexibilities when the carer gets a new manager or moves post or departments.

The Carers’ Charter

The Carers’ Charter signposts to information and support that is available for employees who are carers within the department and externally. The Charter also helps managers to understand how they can support carers in their team.

Civilian personnel can register as a carer on Defence’s internal HR system

From early June, civilian personnel will be able to declare whether they have caring responsibilities and/or a Carer’s Passport on Defence’s internal HR system. This information will help HR to better understand its workforce and improve its policies for carers.

Civil Service Carers’ Network Events

The Civil Service Carers Network is holding a range of events for both carers and managers to help navigate being or supporting a carer.

Information for carers and Line Managers on flexible working

Civilian employees with caring responsibilities can change the way they work through flexible working arrangements and alternative working patters. Defence has policies, procedures, key guidance and support available for its caring workforce and managers of carers.

Guidance and support for Service personnel who are carers

Register as a carer on the JPA (Joint Personnel Administration)

Service personnel who are carers and/or who have family members with additional needs or disability, should register on JPA and at their Medical Centre. This will ensure that the necessary support is provided.

Flexible working options to support military carers

Defence offers a range of flexible working options for Service personnel to help them balance their work and caring responsibilities. This includes alternative working arrangements, such as variable start and finish times, remote working, and compressed working.

Flexible Service also allows Regular Service personnel to apply to temporarily work part-time and/or restrict their separation from their home base, subject to operational need.

Take a look at this video, which shows how Corporal Albert McDonald, a Regular in the RAF, has continued to serve while giving his son the support he needs, thanks to Flexible Service.

For more information, read the ‘Flexible Working and You’ guide >

Wraparound Childcare Scheme (WAC) to support carers of disabled children

If Service personnel receive certain benefits for their child with Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND), they may be eligible for a higher WAC allowance. For more information on the WAC scheme’s eligibility criteria, including how to register, visit Discover My Benefits >

Housing adaptions for carers

The Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) Accommodation team provide housing adaptations for Service personnel and their family. The DIO help to source – and make reasonable adjustments to – accommodation based on the additional needs and disabled adaptations (ANDA) requirements. For example, through the provision of disabled and carer facilities.

Defence Peoples article for Carer’s Week.

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