Carers lose an average of £11,000 a year in earnings through caring for disabled or sick relatives, research has found.
The figure, published today (7 December) to coincide with Carers UK’s Carers Rights Day, reveals the financial loss suffered by carers who look after their relatives, unpaid, and had to give up their jobs, reduce their hours or take more junior positions because of their caring duties.
The findings come from a survey of 3,000 carers which shows the extent of the financial difficulties faced by working carers trying to balance their jobs with their caring responsibilities.
Carers UK claimed about one in five of the nation’s 4.4 million carers of working age have to give up their employment in order to care. Men lose out on an average of £13,681 per annum, compared to an average of £10,083 per annum for women.
Nearly 45% of working age carers said they would like to work, but one in three (34%) said they cannot work without a supportive employer.
Since April this year, carers have had the right to request flexible working from their employers. However, the charity claimed awareness of the right among carers and employers remains low.
“This report demonstrates for the first time the financial penalties faced by carers and the barriers they face to remaining in work,” said Imelda Redmond, chief executive of Carers UK.
“Besides the monetary penalties, there are other negative consequences to giving up work, such as the loss of workplace skills, social isolation and reduced confidence. This makes it much harder for carers to return to work in the future, and also means that they are less able to save for their retirement or for their own future care needs.”