Support for carers

The University recognises that caring is an important role, and seeks to support staff with caring responsibilities wherever possible. Caring responsibilities can affect us all, may arise without warning, and may be temporary, long-term or permanent.  You may have caring responsibilities for relatives, or friends, or family overseas. Or you may be trying to juggle multiple caring responsibilities.

There are schemes to help you whoever you are caring for.... elderly relative

carer and older lady hands resized

...a disabled child

father and child in wheelchair resized

...a sick family member

father with daughter and doctor resized

...lots of people

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If you are a carer you are encouraged to disclose your caring responsibilities, in confidence, to your line manager, or another colleague such as a departmental administrator.  The University recognises that at times it may be difficult to combine work and caring responsibilities and expects managers to consider carefully any requests for support. All disclosures and requests will be dealt with in a confidential manner.

The University offers a range of support initiatives which seek to enable you to maintain a positive work-life balance at all stages of your life. 

Below you will find a summary of the support available and links to more information.


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There are a range of flexible working options to help you to fit your work around care for dependants and to strike a better balance between work and family life. Options include part-time working, compressed hours, or working from home. You may want to request a permanent change to your working arrangement to manage a long-term care needs, or just work different hours for a short period to deal with a period of acute caring need. 

Find out more about flexible working

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The University's holiday entitlement for employees is generous. But, if your caring responsibilities mean that you need to take frequent days of leave, for example to accompany a dependant to medical or other appointments, take them shopping, or just spend time together, you may find that your annual leave entitlement doesn't leave you time for yourself.

From the start of the 2018/19 annual leave year, many departments will offer the University's Additional Annual leave scheme which allows you, through a salary sacrifice scheme, to access up to 10 additional days leave. 

Find out more about the Additional Annual leave scheme.

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If you need to be absent from work to attend to acute/unexpected caring responsibilities or domestic emergencies the staff handbook outlines the provision for paid and/or unpaid leave to deal with this.

Find out more: Section 4.3 of the staff handbooks

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Mirroring the statutory unpaid parental leave scheme, carers can request up to four weeks carers' leave per year. Leave is on an unpaid basis.  There is no qualifying length of service. The first week carer's leave is a statutory entitlement and can be taken in blocks of minimum half a day.  The remaining 3 weeks per annum are a University scheme and the leave is available in blocks of minimum one week.

Find out more: Short-term carers' leave scheme.

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If your caring responsibilities become too intense to continue working for a period of time, and you need to think about giving up work temporarily, you may be able to take a Career break. The Career Break scheme covers breaks of between one and 12 months.  

Find out more: Career break scheme

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University employees are eligible for free access to the Work+Family Space (previously My Family Care), an external, national provider of information and support for those with caring, and other family responsibilities. By registering with the Work+Family Space  you can access a "speak to an expert" phone service to answer questions you have about any aspect of caring, such as sourcing care for an elderly dependent, setting in place a power of attorney, or finding emergency back-up care for a dependant of any age. 

Via the Work+Family Space Website you can also access downloadable 'insider' guides and webinars.

Webinar library includes: Insider guides include: 

Caring from a distance

Resilience for carers

Caring & your career

Making decisions about care

Convalescence, rehabilitation and respite care

Power of attorney

Assistive devices


Find out more: Work+Family Space

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Speak to your line manager if you need access to a quiet space during the day to make/receive phone calls from or about your dependants.

Peak-time car parking permits are very limited but are allocated on the basis of need according to set criteria (see the car parking standing orders for details). If you need to use your car to attend to dependent family members during the day you may be eligible to apply for a peak time parking permit.

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Carers can be dealing with many, varied issues and it can be difficult to find sources of information and advice.

Given the variety of illnesses, disabilities, conditions and issues that may arise, it is not possible to compile a comprehensive list of helpful resources but we hope that the links below will give you a place to start. 

If you would like to suggest additional helpful resources, please email

Work+Family Space

As an employee you can register for free with the Work+Family Space (see the right hand menu on this page for further information) and access a range of information sources:

  • Speak to an expert phone line: Work+Family Space offers UK-wide expertise about all sorts of adult care issues.
  • Webinars - the webinar archive includes: Co-operation in caring; Caring from a Distance; Resilience for Carers; Caring & Your Career: Keeping Work and Home on Track
  • Downloadable insider guides on a range of issues including: Making Decisions about Care; Convalescence, Rehabilitation and Respite Care; Power of Attorney; Paying for Care; Assistive Devices

Carers UK

Carers UK is a national organisation which supports carers, by providing advice and guidance. 

Local organisations

Other resources

Caring for someone with cancer

Employee recommended sites

The following resources have been recommended by employees.

If you would like to recommend any useful websites or organisations please email


Disability living allowance

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This Teams network aims to facilitate supportive conversations between members of staff with caring responsibilities and provide signposting to available sources of support. Please use the chat to connect with other carers.

Join the network

NEW: Oxford carers peer support network

Join our new carers Teams channel


Find out more

Log in here


W+FS resources include:

  • Speak to an expert phone line
  • Webinar archive
  • Downloadable insider guides
  • Access to emergency back-up care