Invisible carers in the workplace need more support from employers
10 June 2015
New research from enei (employers network for equality & inclusion) and My Family Care has found that UK businesses are not doing enough to support their caring workforce, however a third of the 100 managers surveyed have specific policies or communications targeting their carers at work.
Findings show that UK businesses are not doing enough to support their caring workforce – therefore running the risk of a talent retention crisis. In a survey of 1,000 consumers and 100 employers, research found that 40% of carers don’t get the support they need from friends, family and their employer and only 38% of employers monitor the caring responsibilities of their workforce.
Despite the need for more support for carers at work, there were some positive results from employers. Of the 100 HR managers questioned, one in three (33%) said they have specific policies or communications targeting their carers at work and most of the organisations had wider benefits that would support carers, with the most popular methods of support being:
- Access to an employee helpline or assistance programme (80%)
- A culture that is supportive of flexibility (80%)
- Provision of technology to work remotely (77%)
- Paid time off to deal with family emergencies (71%)
In the survey of 1,000 consumers, it found that many felt that while their employer focussed heavily on the childcare responsibilities of their workforce, very few had procedures in place for those carers of parents, grandparents, siblings or partners. 35% of employees said they rarely or never have any kind of support network available to them – unlike new parents who tend to build a network of people going through the same ‘ages and stages’ as them.
According to enei, almost 7 million adults in the UK are providing unpaid care to a sick, disabled (of any age) or elderly person. Over 3 million people combine this care with paid work, which means around 1 in 9 of the UK workforce has caring responsibilities. The rise in pension age and an ageing population means the number is growing rapidly.
The results of the research, along with a resource pack containing guidance on how to support carers at work can be found here.