3 Million Workers Provide Informal Care: Support Your Working Carers

Due to their knowledge and skills developed on the job, individuals working in care-focused roles within health and social care settings frequently have caring responsibilities outside of work too. However, a new report, carried out for the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) by Westfield Health Research, has revealed that only a third of employers have any sort of policy in place to support working carers.

With current estimates suggesting that as many as 6 out of 10 people will be carers at some point in their lives, the report encourages employers to put in place measures to support working carers, in order to reduce the risk of losing valuable staff members from the workforce.

The report also highlights that only 13% of employers train their line managers to help them support carers, and that private sector employers are less likely to have policies and support mechanisms for staff in relation to carers. Read on to find out more about the benefits of supporting your staff with caring responsibilities and the steps you can take to ensure you have a carer-friendly workplace.

The full CIPD report, entitled ‘Creating an enabling future for carers in the workplace’, highlights how over 3 million workers in the UK are providing informal care to older parents, or dependents, with this number only expected to rise in future. Taking steps to support these carers can help to futureproof your service from the potential loss of valuable staff as they struggle to balance their responsibilities for supporting family members with maintaining employment.

Avoid Losing Key Staff: 3 Steps to Develop a Carer-friendly Workplace

  1. Develop a working carers policy. A working carers policy should set out your commitment to support staff with caring responsibilities and highlight the type of support you plan to make available. This will benefit both the staff to whom it applies and your line managers who will have greater clarity on the approach they should take.
  2. Offer flexible working. Carers will often need to change their hours at short notice so offering rigid contracts with fixed hours can be unhelpful. Consider offering contracts that allow hours to be ‘flexed’ at short notice and the opportunity to work hours that fit around regular caring commitments.
  3. Signpost to resources. Social care services are well-positioned to provide staff with links to support services for carers. Maintain a database of useful local support groups, organisations and phone numbers that staff may find useful, to help them with their responsibilities.

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