How employers can help working carers

How employers can help working carers

Supporting carers in the workplace benefits the UK’s growing numbers of carers and also benefits you as an employer.

How – and why – employers can help

Approximately one in seven employees are providing unpaid care.

Some fortunate carers get the help they need, but many people struggle to stay in work, with employers showing little or no understanding of their caring role, and offering no additional support or flexibility to help.

A report from Carers UK showed that each year thousands of people have to leave the workplace due to the stress of juggling paid work alongside unpaid care. In their annual survey it revealed that an astonishing 40% of respondents had had to give up work completely, with a further 22% reducing their working hours.

What can employers do

As well as being a good employer, there are clear business benefits to supporting workers with caring responsibilities.

A flexible approach can:

  • Increase resilience and productivity
  • Reduce recruitment and training costs
  • Reduce sick leave
  • Attract and keep staff
  • Reduce staff stress and increase staff morale

There are many things employers can consider

  • Flexible working practices
  • Enhanced or paid emergency leave
  • Additional leave arrangements, such as carer’s leave or compassionate leave
  • Additional flexible benefits, such as insurance or care vouchers
  • Support and understanding from employers – a workplace culture that values and supports carers can make a huge difference

According a Carers UK report, the top three things that would most help working carers were:

  • A supportive employer/line manager
  • Flexible working
  • Additional paid care leave

Carers Leave Act

The Carer’s Leave Act of 2023 created legislation giving employees who are unpaid carers access to up to five days unpaid leave from work (each year), in support of their caring responsibilities. This Act will come into force on 6 April 2024, once the draft regulations are passed.

Find out more about the Act and its implications for employers here.

Employers for Carers

Employers for Carers is Carers UK’s membership forum for employers who want to support the people in their workforce who are carers.

Its purpose is to:

  • provide practical advice and support for employers seeking to develop carer-friendly policy and practice and retain skilled workers
  • identify and promote the business benefits of supporting carers in the workplace
  • influence employment policy and practice to create a culture which supports carers in and into work.

Member organisations of Employers for Carers and their employees get free access to guides and resources specifically designed to help make working and caring easier.

To find out more about Employers for Carers, visit, email [email protected] or call 020 7378 4956.

A ‘Carer Confident’ employer

‘Carer Confident’ is the Employers for Carers’ benchmarking scheme.

Action for Carers was the first carers’ charity to be accredited, and only the second charity (Age UK being the first). We’re also proud to say that at least a quarter of our employees are carers.

The scheme assists employers to build a supportive and inclusive workplace for staff who are (or might become) carers, and to make the most of the talents that carers can bring to the workplace. The scheme also seeks to recognise employers who achieve this, and inspire others to follow suit. Other employers accredited include the Cabinet Office, Public Health England, HMRC, Centrica and Aviva.

Find out how your organisation could do the same. More about the scheme here.

Carer Confident Scheme Logo

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