United Kingdom

Give working carers more support, say employees

October 2017


Those with caring responsibilities should be entitled to the same level of workplace support as working parents, according to findings of the SimplyHealth/YouGov Everyday Health Tracker which measures consumer attitudes and behaviours towards health and wellbeing.

Nearly two-thirds of respondents said there should be more support for working carers as there currently is for working parents. Among the eldercare initiatives measured by the poll, over half of respondents wanted to extend care credits to people with eldercare responsibilities and 30 per cent wanted to introduce care vouchers instead. In addition, half of respondents wanted to see employers providing more support to help working carers remain in work by offering emotional support as well as implementing specific carer-friendly policies.

58 per cent however believed the government should do more to help care for the ageing population whilst two-thirds believed the government should be providing more support to employers and staff with eldercare responsibilities.

Clare Sheridan, principal consultant at Aon Employee Benefits said it was "essential" that employers understood the difficulties faced by "increasing numbers" of employees caring for family members. "Support needs to be given from a flexibility, emotional and financial perspective," she continued.

Last month, an industry study found that just 24 per cent of working carers received support from their employer, despite the impact the role was having on the UK workforce.

Speaking last month, Aon's Martha How who had cared for her elderly mother with dementia said: "The emotional toll it takes on families is real and never lets up...I'm a bit old fashioned and prefer to keep my domestic and work life separate. However, it was a relief when the opportunity to reduce my working hours came about."

Sheridan added: "Knowing that flexibility is available or encouraged in this kind of situation would be a major relief for many working carers. Some may think that they would need to give up work in order to cope but being able to reduce hours or change working patterns would be a much better alternative for all concerned."



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