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New research findings: Carers in the workplace07 June 2015
Carers in the workplace: New research findings
Carers were asked about their experiences of the workplace and whether they found them to be carer-friendly or not.
Of carers who had experience in the workplace (1543 respondents):
• Almost half (46%) found the workplace to be carer-friendly
• Yet one in three (34%) said the workplace failed to consider or support them as carers
Almost one in 10 (9%) carers rated the workplace as the least carer-friendly in their community. These carers reported the following impact of the workplace not being carer-friendly on them:
• Three-quarters (75%) said it made it more difficult to work alongside caring
• Three-quarters (74%) said it had a negative impact on their physical or mental health
• Over half (54%) said it made looking after the person they care for more difficult
Some comments from carers who responded to the survey include:
"My main problem is juggling work. I'm expected to do overtime. Gets stressful when I have to tell them I can't work due to caring."
"I work full time but my employer has been fantastic in supporting me. I can work from home and flexible hours so I can be there for my husband."
"I think my work place is more carer friendly now, but only after I had to take 3 months off work to look after my daughter when she became very ill. I would have liked support before I had to go off sick, and more understanding of the issues at home, and how they were affected by my work pattern."
"My employers have been fantastic. I work flexibly and there is a supportive free counselling service."
Useful background statistics: carers in the workplace
• Carers have a right to request flexible working hours in their workplace
• 3 million people combine caring for a loved one with paid work (Census, 2011)
• 2 million people have given up work to care (Caring & Family Finances Inquiry, UK Report, Carers UK & YouGov, 2014)
• Half of working age carers live in a household where no-one is in paid work (Caring & Family Finances Inquiry, UK Report, Carers UK, 2014)
• Almost 1 in 3 carers has seen a drop of £20,000 or more a year in their household income as a result of caring (Caring & Family Finances Inquiry UK Report, Carers UK, 2014)
Carers Week has carer case studies who are available to speak to the media about the impact of caring on their health and as well as good experiences using services that support them.
We also have good practice case studies available of services that are able to talk about how they have adjusted their practices to meet the needs of carers. For example:
Back in 2011, Sainsbury's was one of the first FTSE 100 companies to introduce a policy to supportcolleagues who juggle work with caring responsibilities. Throughout Carers Week, Sainsbury's will help raise awareness of the importance of supporting carers with a number of events taking place in stores, depots and store support centres. A new film will also be launched featuring colleagues sharing their experiences of being carers.
Spokespeople from Sainsbury's are available for interview.
Jo works full-time for Nutricia and also cares for her 14 year old daughter who has a condition similar to Addison's disease – a rare, chronic condition brought about by the failure of the adrenal glands. When Jo's daughter is particularly unwell, Jo meets her every need. She washes, dresses and feeds her. She also takes Livvi to all of her hospital and GP appointments, which are frequent and often far away.
When her daughter first became unwell, Nutricia supported Jo by offering her a reduced-hours contract for six months, so she could better balance work with her caring role. Now that her daughter is able to attend school more frequently, Jo is back to work full-time. Nutricia continue to be flexible with her work hours, enabling her to balance caring and working. Jo says: "Nutricia have been fantastic in supporting me."
Employers for Carers
Employers for Carers is a Forum that helps businesses in the UK to support carers in their workforce. The Forum has around 80 members and 11 Leadership Group members, including Sainsbury's, Nutricia and British Gas. Employers for Carers offers bespoke workplace training, resources and opportunities for business leaders to meet and discuss what more can be done to create carer-friendly workplaces.