In light of National Carers week, organisations are looking at how much is being done to support working carers.
Approximately a third of employers (34%) have a formal, written or informal policy in place to support working careers. The research by CIPD found that 3 in 5 people will end up caring for someone at some point in their lives, therefore employers are being urged to put mechanisms in to place.
The report which was released ahead of Carers Week, also found that almost two-fifths (38%) of employers do not have policies in place to support workers. It also found that only 13% of organisations offer line manager training to support working carers which is worrying given the key role that line managers play in employee’s lives.
This is issue is particularly prevalent in the private sector where just 11% of organisations offer line manager training, 18% have a formal, written policy aimed at supporting working careers and only 20% know how many working carers they employ.
Claire McCartney, resourcing and talent planning adviser at the CIPD, said both measurement and line manager training were key to support those who are working and carers. “Employers need to view working carers as an opportunity, rather than a challenge, and see that listening to and understanding what they need from their employer is important.
“Although official policies for working carers will help to legitimise their place in the labour market, they need not be prescriptive and should focus on empowering individuals.”
However, additionally, in a separate report by Carers UK, 38% of workers said they didn’t feel comfortable talking about their caring commitments at work and 35% said their employer didn’t understand their role. The lack of support becomes clearer as the survey also found that 37% believe it’s impacted their work with 25% feeling unable to pursue a promotion and 60% given up work or reduced hours to manage caring responsibilities.
David Capper, executive director at Westfield Health said: “More than three million workers in the UK are providing informal care to older parents or dependents, and this figure is expected to rise, as many more employees are likely to find themselves in the ‘sandwich generation’ – balancing working commitment with caring for older family members and looking after their own children. Caring not only impacts heavily on employees’ working lives, particularly in terms of health and wellbeing, but can also seriously affect employers through rising levels of absence and falling levels of productivity.
“With so many UK workers now facing these struggles, working carers need to be on every employer’s agenda. It’s clear from this research that many haven’t yet fully recognised the impact of this demographic shift, but they must understand the need to address this issue and put in place mechanisms to support them.”
Furthermore, earlier this week, Simplyhealth also presented details on everyday health and how to improve wellbeing at their 2016 Connected Health Reception. Looking at different mobility options, there was a range of technology and much more that is designed to help both individuals as well as working carers.