Students Staff

Protected group: carers

What support does the University offer staff carers?

We recognise that a number of our employees have caring responsibilities. We are committed to supporting these members of staff in a number of ways, in order for them to achieve a good balance between their work and their caring responsibilities.

If you're juggling working and caring for someone, talking to somebody at work about this (for example your line manager) is a first important step. Though you might find this difficult to do, there may be existing support you are not aware of, that could help you balance work and your caring responsibilities.

Here you can find about how the University can support you, and you can also get some information about additional benefits and support available outside University, whether you are a parent or you have caring responsibilities.

Family friendly policies:

For employees who are pregnant, the University has developed an assessment procedure to guarantee protection during pregnancy for the mother and the unborn child.

Before returning to work from maternity/adoption leave, an employee can undertake Keeping in Touch days (.docx), intended to help with the process of resuming work after a period of leave.

Our University also offers excellent childcare facilities: a day nursery for pre-school children, which also offers a holiday scheme for school children, as well as an activity club (CHUMS, at the Sport Centre) for school children (aged 8-14) during holidays. Most parents employed by our University can also benefit from childcare vouchers, which will save you money and can be used to pay various forms of childcare.

What support does the University offer student carers?

The University recognises that juggling your caring responsibilities with your studies can be tough. We hope that the information provided here makes it a little bit easier. If your caring responsibilities ever interfere with your University commitments, do not worry. We're here to help you.

Below you can find information relating to:

If you find that your caring responsibilities are affecting your university life, try the following:

  • Speak to someone in Student Support

    You should notify Student Support as soon as possible that you have a problem. This will be useful if you decide to file for extenuating circumstances later. If you find that your caring responsibilities combined with the pressures of studying are affecting your emotional, mental or physical health, you can drop into Student Support to speak to a member of staff about what additional support may be available to you as a carer.

    You may also want to your GP.

  • Speak to someone in your department

    The administrative staff in your department are there to help and guide you. In addition, your personal tutor may be able to advise you and should be able to give you specific information relating to your course.

  • Notify the University of your absence

    Many of the University of Essex courses require a high level of attendance at lectures and seminars. If you feel that you are struggling with your attendance at either tuition or examinations because of your caring responsibilities, you should contact your course tutors in the first instance to discuss your situation with them to see if any special arrangements can be made.

    If you are absent from teaching for more than one week, you should inform your Head of Department in writing of the reason for your absence. Please be aware that if you are absent for longer than two weeks, or if you are frequently absent, you will need to provide evidence or a detailed statement of the details of the reason for your absence.

    If you wish for the reason for your absence to be kept confidential, you should discuss this with Student Support. You should also contact Student Support if you are likely to be absent for long periods of time and require your lectures to be taped or some other form of support.

    For more information, please see the Absence from Tuition Notification Form and Guidelines.

    If you expect to miss an examination, or have already missed an examination, you will need to notify the Exams Office. Please be aware that you must complete a separate form for each examination you miss.

    For more information, please see the Absence from Exams Notification Form and Guidelines.

  • Fill in a Late Submission form

    The University of Essex operates a uniform Course Deadline policy on late submission of coursework. Work which is submitted after a set deadline will be given a mark of zero unless you can show satisfactory evidence of extenuating circumstances.

  • Seek academic support

    You can get extra support through the Talent Development Centre. The Centre provides guidance, support and resources to help you do the best you possibly can. It is located on the Colchester campus in the Learning Resource Centre, Room 4.204.

Further support for carers at the University

For employees who may find it difficult to fulfil domestic, family and working commitments due to personal responsibilities, the University will always consider practical help through a flexible working policy (.pdf).

Employees with caring responsibilities can also benefit from time off for dependants (.docx), which allows employees to take a reasonable amount of time off work to deal with certain unexpected or sudden emergencies and to make any necessary longer term arrangements, as well as take discretionary leave (.pdf).

Essex is committed to ensuring the holistic wellbeing of staff at work and we provide a range of support services which are freely available to staff. For example, to deal with emotionally difficult moments, anxiety and stress, carers can take advantage of free Counselling Service. Further advice on how to deal with stress is offered to both individuals and line managers.

If you think you're treated unfairly at work because of your caring responsibilities, you can contact the Harassment Advisory Network for advice.

Further support for carers

Carers have a number of legal rights, which include financial support. According to Carers UK every year, millions of pounds of carers benefits are unclaimed. Below is a list of some of the benefits you might be eligible for; please note that some of these benefits are only available for unemployed carers:

  • Carer's Allowance
  • Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Carer premium/addition
  • Income Support
  • Job Seeker's Allowance
  • Pension Credit
  • Housing benefit
  • Council Tax Benefit
  • Council Tax Discount
  • Disability Reduction Scheme

Benefits for the person you care for:

  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Attendance Allowance

A number of organisations give detailed descriptions of these and other benefits.

The Codes of Practice

The University has Codes of Practice for each of the protected characteristics. The codes aim to help Managers deal with diversity within their teams and to inform individual members of staff and students of the responsibilities of the University and their rights, under the Equality Act 2010.