We recently met with Cal from Trafford Council’s Recruitment Team as part of our Caring, Working, Living project. Cal has worked for the council for 18 years, whilst also caring for her daughter. Cal kindly agreed to share her story.
I am Mum to a 20-year-old young lady who is registered disabled and who has a severe learning disability. My daughter has a rare genetic condition which has resulted in global developmental delay. She has always been in special education provision. She has severe communication problems and displays autistic tendencies in her behaviour. I also work full time and have worked at Trafford Council for the last 18 years.
I have always found the Council to be incredibly supportive and flexible. My manager understands how difficult some days can be and how juggling work and caring responsibilities can take its toll. The Council’s flexitime policy is particularly helpful – this allows me to help my daughter with her personal care in the morning and come in to work later. Some mornings can be difficult as my daughter’s behaviour can be very challenging at times. This can be extremely stressful and upsetting for me and I often need time to calm down before starting work. My team are also encouraged to work in an agile way – so I do have the opportunity to work from home. This is also really helpful when juggling my caring responsibilities.
“If it wasn’t for the flexitime policy, I would find it difficult to do my job.”
Over the years I have had times where the reality of caring for a disabled daughter has been incredibly difficult and this has affected my mental health. I can recognise when it’s all getting too much and sometimes I just need a break. When this happens, I usually sleep for 24 hours! I do feel supported at work and feel able to discuss my health with my manager in an open and honest way.
The time off for emergencies provision is also really beneficial and at times I have requested a day’s emergency leave if my daughter was poorly and I had to make other arrangements for her care. I am conscious that flexibility works both ways so I endeavour to be available to work later if required.
I am really pleased that the Council has developed a Working Carer Action Plan. I am also part of the Carer Staff Networking Group which meets once a month. It is really beneficial to chat with others facing the same daily struggles and offer that peer support. I feel lucky that I am able to continue to work in a job I love whilst still being able to offer the care and ongoing support my daughter needs.
If you would like to share your story about juggling work and caring responsibilities, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0161 277 1044.
To find out more about flexible working download the Caring, Working, Living toolkits here.