Unpaid leave

I’m lucky because I work for very understanding employers and work with a great team. I don’t normally have a lot of sick leave. My partner was diagnosed with terminal cancer earlier this year - we don’t have a time and I prefer not to know - obviously I have had a lot of time off sick as a result. He’s got very sick in a short space of time and is now unable to walk. I’ve used up most of my sick pay. I’ve tried a phased return to work which was brilliant for the first week but then deterorated due to my partner’s health. I now have to decide between cutting my hours or taking unpaid leave. Preferably I’d like to spend some time at work as I love my job. I know they would be as flexible as they could but this isn’t always going to be possible. Obviously I also want to spend as much time as I can with my partner, as well as caring for him. I would like to try cutting my hours if I can afford it - I’m applying for universal credit - I’m the only wage earner and have been for a while. We don’t have any savings. I think I know the answer, but if I have to take unpaid leave/carer break in order to look after him would I be entitled to any benefits? I’m guessing not as it would be my choice to not work. I don’t want to leave my job as ultimately I’m going to financially need it and the friendship and support I get from there. I’m sorry this is so rambly, I just can’t think what to do.

Hi Susan & welcome

So sorry to hear of your partners situation. How difficult it must be for you both. Does you partner receive PIP if not he should. You could then apply for carers allowance. And then you should be class as unavailable for work. Would your company hold your job open for you. To claim carers allowance and still work. You need to demonstrate you are caring for at least a minimum of 35 hours a week and be under the earning limit. Would you not be able to stay in employment and work very minimal hours.

The Carer’s Allowance threshold for earnings is £128 a week.
The earnings limit enables some carers to work part-time and still be eligible for the £67.60 a week Carer’s Allowance (rate from April 2021).

It would be really good if you could hold on to your job. I would speak with your employer and discuss all options.

Your employer has to make reasonable adjustments for you.

Has social service done a needs assessment for your partner. If not this needs to be done urgently and the assessment must include respite help. You also need a carers assessment.


Has anyone told you about NHS Fast Track Continuing Healthcare? Ask your GP to apply and it should be arrange within 48 hours. All the help needed. Try to keep working, maybe ask for reduced hours. You are disabled by association, and they have a duty to make reasonable adjustments.