Carers' rights and legislation

Carers (Scotland) Act 2016

The Carers (Scotland) Act 2016 was implemented on 1st April 2018. The Act consolidates existing rights from other legislation, as well as protecting new rights for carers and young carers in law.

Scotland has an estimated 17% of the adult population and 4% of the population of young people providing unpaid care to relatives and friends. The people they care for are in need of help because they are ill, frail, have a disability, mental illness or have a substance misuse. The value of this support to health and social services is extensive. It is widely recognised that carers are now the largest provider of care in the UK. The care they provide saves the Scottish economy an estimated £10.3billion each year. Unfortunately, the benefits of this support can be detrimental to the carers’ physical and emotional wellbeing.

The Act introduces provisions to improve the health and wellbeing of carers.

These include the:

  • identification of carers’ needs for support through adult carer support plans and young carer statements
  • provision of support to carers based on local eligibility criteria
  • enabling of carer involvement in certain services - such as hospital discharge
  • preparation of Local Carer Strategies
  • the preparation of Short Breaks Services Statements
  • establishment of information and advice services for carers

You can find more information in the full detail of the Act.

A short guide for adult carers to help understand the Act is available on the MECOPP website in 3 languages - English, Chinese and Urdu. MECOPP (Minority Ethnic Carers of Older People Project) support minority ethnic carers.

Carers' Charter

A new national Carers' Charter has been produced by the Scottish Government as part of the Carers (Scotland) Act 2016. It sets out the rights of carers.

Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership (AHSCP) have adopted this Charter for Aberdeenshire. Organisations providing carers' support to adults in Aberdeenshire have also adopted the Charter. They are VSA, Promoting a More Inclusive Society (PAMIS) and Advocacy North East.

The Carers' Charter (PDF 1.04MB) details how AHSCP and the carers' support organisations will work with carers to exercise their right to:

  • an adult carer support plan
  • a young carer statement
  • support as a carer
  • be involved in services
  • be involved in the hospital discharge process of the person they are, or going to be, caring for

You can pick up a paper copy of the Charter from the carers' support organisations.

Local Carer Strategies

We have produced Local Carer Strategies for adult and young carers in Aberdeenshire.

The Aberdeenshire Adult Carer Strategy details how we will support unpaid carers, aged over 18.

The Aberdeenshire Young Carer Strategy details how we will best support young carers, aged under 18, over the next two years (2021 to 2023).

Carers' Leave Act 2023

The Carers' Leave Act 2023 entitles employees to one week's unpaid leave per year if providing or arranging care for someone with a long-term care need. This can be taken as a whole week, as individual days, or half days throughout the year. It is available from the first day of employment. The Act covers employees in Scotland, England and Wales. GOV.UK website has more about unpaid carer's leave.