Already 1 in 9 in each workforce will be caring for someone who is older, disabled or seriously ill.

“But with the number of carers in the UK set to rise from 6 million to 9 million over the next 30 years, the proportion of carers within the workforce is also likely to increase significantly,” says Carers UK.(1) 

Carers UK also found in a recent survey that 60% of the working population were not aware of colleagues who juggle paid work alongside their role as a carer (2) - which highlights that more needs to be done to raise awareness in the workplace about carers’ needs.

How you can help carers in your workplace

  • Display posters in communal staff areas to highlight your carer friendly policies, and encourage carers to identify themselves so you are able to support them in the workplace.
  • Retain your skilled employees with a flexible caring policy. As the peak age for taking on a caring role is between 45-64 (when many will have gained valuable skills and experience), having a flexible carers policy could make all the difference in encouraging these skilled workers to stay on in a working role, while also maintaining their caring responsibilities, and avoid you incurring the costs of recruiting and retraining new staff.
  • Create or update your HR policies to acknowledge the needs of carers. Ensure your diversity and work-life balance policies are in place and do not fall foul of the law, to protect you and your employees. Audit your equality and diversity policies to see how carers fare in your workplace, and ensure you promote equality. Tackle prejudice about carers in the workplace, and do not discriminate against carers in the workforce by treating them differently to other workers, or subjecting them to harassment. The Employers for Carers website has a range of useful information to help you or 020 7378 4975.
  • Support a carers charity in your workplace: set aside time for staff to volunteer, support media campaigns about carers, arrange fundraising events for staff and their families, and even suggest a workplace payroll giving option. What do you get out of it? Employer supported volunteering can help improve reputation, support recruitment and staff retention, boost staff morale, put your Corporate Social Responsibility goals into action, and develop your employees’ skills.

Charity partnership in your workplace

If you’d like to support more unpaid carers across East Sussex and wish to discuss forming a charity partnership with Care for the Carers, please contact Amy Hope: [email protected] or call 01323 738390.

If you’re an employer looking to support your employees who are carers, please contact Employers for Carers. Depending on the nature of your organisation, you might also wish to consider signing up to our Carers Card scheme to further support carers in the local community.

You might also be interested in finding out more about working carers:

Working Wonders: Tips for working carers

References:

  1. Employers for Carers website, accessed October 2018
  2. Caring and isolation in the workplace, 2015

Article originally published in CareLine magazine, Winter 2018 edition [PDF]