The UK Government’s social care reforms discussed in the Autumn Budget will still fall short of filling the gap to cover costs for necessary social care.
The plan is to raise £12 billion a year by raising national insurance by 1.25 percentage points, in order to fund both the NHS backlog created by the COVID-19 pandemic and the social care system. The social care system will receive £5.4 billion over the next three years, with more to be provided afterwards.
“These reforms are shining a spotlight on an issue that has perhaps been considered a lower priority for many years. However, even the most far-reaching legislative proposals will still fall short of fully meeting this growing challenge. The unfortunate impact is likely to fall squarely with employers and employees”.
- Mark Witte, Head of Risk
In Aon’s recent report, “The Aging Population: Why it’s time to take notice”, a number of key issues were highlighted: one in six UK workers will balance their job with caring responsibilities by 2040[i], unpaid carers provide approximately £132 billion worth of care each year[ii] and 2.6 million people have given up working altogether to provide care, a 12% increase from 2013[iii]. This data shows that even with new levels of funding being promised by the Government, and recognising some of the caps and limitations on the levels of support available, there will be millions of UK workers underserved.
Employees shouldering a burden of care struggle with all aspects of their wellbeing. This can have an adverse impact on business performance in terms of low engagement, increased absence, higher levels of presenteeism, loss of productivity and increased staff turnover.
Employers should focus on providing support which increases the resiliency of their workforce in order to mitigate business risk; start by reviewing internal policies, as well as the support and advice available to carers. This should extend to an assessment of new solutions including helping carers meet the cost of care, as well as technology aimed at decreasing the strain and helping loved ones stay in their home for as long as possible. The eco-system of strategies and benefits aimed at meeting challenges arising from an aging population continues to evolve, and we can expect rapid developments as employers seek to make better decisions that support their employees.
[i] Carers UK: Caring Behind Closed Doors, October 2020
[iii] Carers UK: Caring Behind Closed Doors, October 2020
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