How – and why – employers can help
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 2019 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
National policy change
In September 2021, the Government announced that working carers will have the right to a week’s unpaid leave and the ability to request flexible working from the moment they start their employment. This is in response to the Government’s consultation on carers’ leave, launched in March 2020, in recognition of the need to better support working carers. It is a good step forward. The Government has said that legislation to introduce the new leave rights will be brought in “when parliamentary time allows”, so as yet, we do now know when these changes will be implemented.
About 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.
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.