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Learn about funding options for home care, home adaptations and care homes, together with Attendance Allowance, gifting assets and Power of Attorney.
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Guidance on the practical and emotional aspects at the end of life, from planning end of life care to arranging a funeral and coping with bereavement.

Taking a longer break from work

Find out what to do if you need a longer period of time off work, perhaps to provide end-of-life care or to cope with a bereavement.
2 min read
In this article
Taking compassionate leave from work  Considering a career break Benefits while on leave

Taking compassionate leave from work 


Unlike time off for emergencies, there is no right in the law for a carer to take a longer break from work to deal with ongoing situations. So, if the person you care for needs continuous support for a while, and you feel that you need a temporary break from work, you’ll need to talk to your employer and see if you can come to an amicable arrangement.


Many employers offer discretionary leave in special circumstances. This is often known as ‘compassionate leave’ or ‘special leave’ and can be either paid or unpaid. Your right to compassionate leave might be detailed in your contract or it can be something that your employer deals with on a case-by-case basis.


Considering a career break


If you’re struggling to manage work and caring, speak to your employer about your options. They might be willing to give you a temporary sabbatical from work. This is usually unpaid, although some employers might continue to give you full or part wage.


Taking a sabbatical or career break allows you to focus 100% on your caring duties, safe in the knowledge that you can go back to your job later. It can help you to recharge your batteries, plan for the future and work out the practicalities of juggling work and caring responsibilities.


Benefits while on leave


If you take unpaid leave from work, you might be entitled to claim Carer’s Allowance or other benefits for carers. If you go back to work after your break, be sure to notify the different benefits departments of your change of circumstances. This must be done before you return to work to prevent any overpayment of benefits.


After a sabbatical, you might decide to give up work and become a full-time carer, or you could choose to go back to work and make alternative arrangements for your partner, relative or friend’s care. Our care services directory can help you find care homes or home care agencies.

Care homes and support at home near you
Use our directory to find local care homes, home care agencies and carer support services across the UK.

Further reading

Flexible working

If you work and also care for someone, flexible working can help balance your responsibilities. We explain your ...

Respite care

Respite care offers carers a break from caring, by providing replacement support. We explain your options.

Planning respite care

The importance of planning ahead, how to access local authority respite care and choosing respite care.

Last updated: 02 Sep 2019