National Carers Week – what can employers do to support staff who are carers?

This week is National Carers Week. Work plays a huge part in our health and wellbeing and working conditions and the level of support provided by employers to aid work-life balance is very important for those 3 million workers in the UK who also care for loved ones with disabilities or serious health conditions.

Whether it’s round-the-clock or for a few hours a week, in the own home or miles away, caring can have a huge effect on working lives. With a quarter of women and a sixth of men aged 50-64 having caring responsibilities, retaining workforce skills and talent is becoming ever more crucial for employers and the economy.

So, what can employers do to ensure that workplace conditions, work-life balance and support systems support a healthy life for carers? Here are some steps you can take to help both your staff and your business:

  • Put in place practical support for staff who may have caring responsibilities, including flexible working and care leave;
  • Publicise relevant policies so they are understood by managers and staff;
  • Educate managers so that they are approachable and supportive during discussions about caring responsibilities and encourage them to start a conversation, so employees recognise themselves as carers and come forward for support;
  • Connect carers in the workplace by identifying a point of contact or setting up a staff carers network to enable them to support one another.

Whether as colleagues or managers, we can all play our part in reaching out to carers earlier. Ensuring that they get the right support, in the right place, at the right time will help us to retain healthy and resilient workers.

 

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