Penalised for caring?

Hello everybody,

My partner (Violet) was dx in Jan, last week we were told, (in a letter! ) that she has PPMS. Since her diagnosis I have taken three days off work, one day after returning from the hospital at 6.30am after spending all the night there with her due to a UTI. Two more after similar instances. My question is, my employer has said that I would not be paid for this time off, I completly understand that and had not expected to be paid. He stated that although the time off was not for my personal sickness it would be counted as such on The Bradford scoring system they use to assess sick leave. 

This is a huge worry for me, could anyone advise if they have had any experiences of this? Can they do this legally?  We have no union so can't go down that route, I have tried to search the internet but there is so much conflicting advise I have just confused myself further!

Thank you for reading

The other half of Violet x



Sorry I don't know the answer but does the company do carers leave,so that any overtime can be banked on a carers leave card to be used as and when you need it for appts or to be at home when she is ill?


l don't know if this will help but wwwbenefitsand work      -  and wwwturn2us   might be of help.  Also CAB if you have one in your area.

My husbands company allow a certain amount of compassionate leave per year but he works for a big company.

Could you speak to your boss again at all, maybe take in some info about ppms?

Why not request flexible working (from

Flexible working

It's your decision whether you tell your employer that you're a carer. But it's worth knowing that you have a statutory right to request flexible working hours if you've worked for your employer for at least 26 weeks and are a parent of a child under 16, or a disabled child under 18, or if you're caring for an adult dependant who is a relative or lives at the same address as you.

There are many advantages to flexible working, such as gaining a better work-life balance while still being able to earn a living. Continuing to work while caring will also give you the chance to have social interaction outside of your caring role.

Flexible working doesn’t necessarily mean doing part-time hours. You may be able to work the same number of hours but at times that suit you, for example, weekends or evenings. Or you could opt for compressed hours or home working.

Bear in mind that although you may be legally entitled to apply for flexible working, your employer will need to assess whether there's a business case for such flexibility. You may need to help convince them that there is.

Before you apply for flexible working

Before you speak to your employer, it's advisable to find out about their policy for supporting carers. You could do this by checking your staff handbook, intranet or speaking to your manager or Human Resources (HR) department.

Making changes to how you work can do a lot to make your life manageable. The Work and Families Act 2006 and the Employment Rights Act 1996 give employed carers rights that can make life easier.

Who can apply?

Thanks to these two laws, carers in employment have the right to apply for flexible working and leave entitlement. It's important to know whether or not you qualify before you go to the trouble of applying. You have the right to apply for flexible working if you've worked for your employer for 26 weeks continuously on the day that you make the application.

You also have to be either:

  • a parent of a child aged 16 and under, or under 18 if they claim Disability Living Allowance
  • a carer - this means you must be (or expect that you will be) caring for a husband or wife or a live-in partner, civil partner or relative, or live in the same home as an adult who needs a carer.

Flexible working

Flexible working can cover a wide range of possibilities, which means that you can plan a way of working that suits you. It may be that starting and finishing work at different times, only working during term times, part-time working or job sharing would be most helpful. You could also think about compressed working hours. For example, you work the equivalent of five days’ hours over four days, giving you an extra day free.


It should state in your T & C's of employment what your rights are in respect of time off for dependants:



Hello Violet`s OH, just a thought. Is Violet in need of a carer through the day, or perhaps mornings to get her up and so on?

I ask as I am a user of Direct Payments. Maybe if you 2 had this, you`d be less anxious about leaving her while you go to work, eh?

luv Pollx

Hi Violet

I used to work in HR but unfortunately MS retired me but I believe that your absences should be logged as ‘Emergency Dependant Leave’. This should NOT be recorded as YOUR sickness absence at all and I would very definitely challenge their decision!

Please look at this link … if you are in any doubt go and see your nearest Citizens Advice Bureau and they will help you with your case.

Just to say again, for the avoidance of any doubt, this is NOT to be recorded as your sickness and therefor should have NO bearing on your Bradford Score (which is a bit of a contentional system). Please see this link

As you see, it should be used carefully and NOT in te circumstances that you describe.

Hope this helps?

Echo XX


Meant to be addresed to "The Other Half of Violet" blush XX

I don’t know the legals, but in plain language, they are bastards. Why can’t they do the half-decent and count it as unpaid leave at the very least? Ah well. A bit of give and take is all it takes, and a bit of common decency. You have had some good advice about asking for flexible working. If they are not going to be human about it, you had better get yourself prepared to take the official route. That’ll make them think. I am very sorry you are both having such a worrying time.



Thank you all so very much for your fabulous messages. 

Flexible working would bring too many money worries I think, Goodness me its a whole new world we have 'stumbled into' (forgive the pun! )

My main concern is that she is not aware or concerned by this, I understand that from my boss's point of view the buisness need is paramount but if he only knew how many times I have wanted to stay home to look after her, even just to rub her poor legs, I think He would appreciate how hard it is. Sorry to moan, Obviously I have no idea what you all have to live with. I just know how hard it is to watch my wife going through it.

Thank you all once again





This looks like a useful link. It seems that your employer is out of order: you have legal rights as a carer.

Karen x


Hi again,

It might also be an idea for you to contact the ACAS helpline, your employer is being very unreasonable and I suspect is acting illegally.

As a carer you have rights under the law and you might find and,4380,PP.html helpful.

Acas Helpline

Whether you are an employer, employee or representative, you can call the national Acas helpline for free and impartial advice. Simply get in touch and we'll provide you with clear and confidential guidance about any kind of dispute or query that you have about relationship issues within the workplace. You may want to know about employment rights and rules, best practice or you may need advice about a dispute. Whatever it is, just give us a call, our team are on hand to respond within the hours below.

Helpline numbers

Monday-Friday, 8am-8pm and Saturday, 9am-1pm: 08457 47 47 47.

Customers with a hearing or speech impairment may prefer to contact us using the Text Relay service. You can contact the Acas Helpline using Text Relay by dialling 18001 08457 474747. Your questions will be relayed to the helpline adviser who answers the call and a real-time conversation will take place.

You could also call the MS Society Helpline free* on 0808 800 8000 or email

they are open 9am to 9pm Monday to Friday (except bank holidays).

You are also entitled to a carers allowance -

Good luck to you both  - and welcome herehappy2

Hi Violets other half

As Violet has an illness then she would be eligible for DLA. This may ease you financial situation as if she gets middle rate of the care component then carers allowance could be claimed.
Dla is not dependant on other bane fits and can be claimed if working or not. It is non taxable.
As you stated ‘money worries’ even though the sums are not huge they are available.
If you go to go to benefits and get the phone number. They will send you a claim form. There are 2dates stamped on it
1-date of issue-if successful backdated to this date
2-date to be recieved by- normally 6 weeks from issue date

In that 6 weeks
1- gather evidence
2- see doc to remind them you there and symptoms
3-keep a cause/effect diary and what happened
4- compile a list of medication

At about week 4 get social services, local authority disability officer to complete form
Get GP to fill in htheir section

Copy and submit