UK businesses need to do more to support their caring workforce » SMEInsider

UK businesses need to do more to support their caring workforce

Four out of ten carers do not get the support they need from their family, friends and employers, a recent survey discovered.

To mark National Carers Week, new research from My Family Care and ENEI (The Employers Network for Equality & Inclusion), has found that UK businesses are not doing as much as they should be to support their caring workforce.

Along with the 40 per cent of carers who do not feel adequately supported by their personal and employment networks, the research revealed that only 38 per cent of employers monitor the caring responsibilities of their workforce.

The survey also revealed that employers only heavily focus on their employees’ childcare responsibilities and had too few procedures that addressed carers of parents, siblings, grandparents or partners.

Over a third (35 per cent) said they rarely or never have any network support available to them.

According to the report, there are 7 million people providing unpaid care to sick, disabled or elderly people. Out of this group, 3 million people also have paid work, meaning every one out of nine people in the UK workforce has caring responsibilities.

This research really highlights the need for businesses to find out who of their staff are caring for loved ones and may be in need of extra help,” said Ben Black, director of My Family Care.

However, there is also some positive news. Exactly a third of the 100 HR managers surveyed said they implemented specific policies or communications that target their carers at work.

Furthermore, most of the organisations had wider support systems that also benefit carers. The most popular included having access to an employee helpline or assistance programme (80 per cent).

The research also raised the issue of image. Many workers wanted more flexible hours, but over half (52 per cent) were concerned that flexibility would affect their career progression, whilst nearly two-thirds (63 per cent) of people thought that those who work the flexible hours would be seen as less committed by their company or colleagues.

“This research shows that employers are keen to support carers at work but there is still a gap between what carers would like and what employers currently provide,” said Debbie Rotchell from ENEI.