Carers UK calls on employers to actively support carers ahead of November lockdown in England

Employers with established policies in place to support staff with caring responsibilities have been better able to meet the changing needs of their workforce during the pandemic, new research by Carers UK shows.

A survey of 114 members of the charity’s Employers for Carers (EfC) business forum found the vast majority have been able to support their staff with caring responsibilities for older, disabled or ill relatives through the pandemic.

The research found that nine out of ten members (90%) put in additional arrangements to support carers’ health and wellbeing during the pandemic.

Three quarters (75%) told Carers UK they had offered additional flexible working arrangements for carers, while half (50%) offered carer’s leave or special leave to help carers manage their caring responsibilities.

In addition, 61% offered different arrangements for staff caring for someone in the shielded category. Of these respondents, 67% enabled such carers to work remotely on other duties, 40% moved them to non-frontline roles, 40% offered them paid leave, 33% offered unpaid leave and a smaller proportion (20%) enabled them to be furloughed.

Madeleine Starr MBE, Director of Business Development and Innovation at Carers UK, said:

“We are delighted that EfC member organisations have stepped up to the plate during this pandemic and supported the carers in their workforces.

“Juggling work and care is a tricky balancing act at the best of times, but dedicated support from an employer can make all the difference, helping to relieve stress and keeping carers in work. During the COVID-19 pandemic, with carers unable to access their usual support from care services, the flexibility provided by some employers has been essential to enable carers to remain in work.

“COVID-19 has brought into sharper focus the challenges of balancing caring responsibilities with paid work. It has also led to some employers adapting quickly to support their workforce.

“With a huge swathe of people now juggling work and care, it is vital that all employers take note of the importance of supporting working carers and that arrangements implemented during the pandemic remain established good practice, with carers supported to remain in work and thrive.

“The research provides excellent evidence that the Government’s plans to introduce a right to Carer’s Leave is not only desirable, but very possible for employers to implement.”

Madeleine Starr

Madeleine Starr MBE

Sustainable Care Director of Impact

Carers UK are partners of the Sustainable Care: connecting people and systems research programme.

About the research

The Employers for Carers survey was conducted online during July – September 2020. In total, 114 member organisations took part in the survey from the public, private, voluntary and community sectors.

The majority of respondents were from sectors more likely to be aware of caring needs within the workplace (e.g. healthcare).

About Employers for Carers

Carers UK’s business forum, Employers for Carers, is a group of more than 220 employers who are committed to supporting carers in the workplace and now reach over 3.5 million employees. In 2019 it launched Carer Confident , the first UK-wide employer benchmarking scheme of its kind, which recognises and accredits UK employers who have built carer friendly workplaces.

About Carers UK

Carers UK is a charity led by carers, for carers – our mission is to make life better for carers.

  • We give expert advice, information and support
  • We connect carers so no-one has to care alone
  • We campaign together for lasting change

We innovate to find new ways to reach and support carers

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