Self-employed and an unpaid carer? We’d love to hear from you

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Relatively little is known about unpaid self-employed carers in the UK. Over the last year, one IPSE member has begun to discover more about the scale, commonly-shared challenges facing, and misconceptions about, this unique demographic, and IPSE wants to help further these endeavors.

We want to raise awareness of the support that is currently available to self-employed unpaid carers whilst also drawing up policy recommendations for where the support is lacking and we need your help.

If you’re an unpaid carer and self-employed or have previously been in this circumstance, we’d love to hear from you via the form at the bottom of this page where you can also choose to remain anonymous.

Below, we highlight some of the key challenges facing unpaid self-employed carers in the UK that have already become apparent from previous focus groups and discussions.

If you identify any other areas we should be aware of or have any other insights or experiences to share, we’d also really appreciate your thoughts at [email protected].

Accessing support

Whilst support does exist for unpaid carers in the UK, many are often simply unaware of their eligibility and the practical steps in accessing support such as carer’s allowance.

Government has attempted to signpost the relevant support schemes available to carers in the UK, but the major obstacle is the fact that these carers often don’t realise the benefit of officially recognising the role they are performing.

By formally providing proof of a caring role – either by registering as a carer with a GP, requesting a carer’s assessment or by providing evidence of an award letter for the person being caring for – a carer could be entitled to certain discounts and may even qualify for special assistance or some additional support from professional bodies and local council services.

However, for unpaid carers who are also working, much of the existing support is based on a model of the carer being in a salaried role – for freelancers and the self-employed, there is less recognition and support, hence our interest in exploring this topic with our members further.

Clients not being aware or understanding

It’s not always easy for carers to let clients or employers aware of their caring responsibilities, especially with the unpredictable nature of care for many, and the fear of discrimination they may subsequently experience

Similarly, clients may not understand (or be able to accommodate) the requirements involved in providing unpaid care, including the need for potentially extra flexibility around the work and deadlines.

This can lead to many unpaid carers who are also self-employed not feeling able to identify themselves as such, for fear of the impact this may create on their relationships with clients.

Anonymously tell us whether you’re a self-employed unpaid carer

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Meet the author

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Joshua Toovey

Senior Research and Policy Officer