A new membership group to help employers meet the needs of carers in their workforce has been launched.
Employers for Carers aims to offer a range of support from good practice guidance to training and consultancy. A core group of firms including BT, insurance provider Unum Provident and consultants PricewaterhouseCoopers will work with the charity Carers UK to develop a service for employers.
There are 4.4 million carers of working age, three million of whom are currently juggling work and care, according to Carers UK.
Research by the charity has found the value of the unpaid care they provide is worth £87bn each year.
The launch of the group coincides with the unveiling of the government’s new National Carers Strategy, which promises £38m of funding towards helping carers juggle their work and caring responsibilities. It also promises to review the definition of ‘carer’ for the right to request flexible working.
A major campaign to boost awareness of the right to request among carers and employers will also be run later this year. A good practice guide for employers on the benefits of employing carers will be published, more flexible skills training available and changes to the services offered to carers by Jobcentre Plus introduced.
Imelda Redmond, chief executive of Carers UK, said: “Currently, one in five carers give up work to care, but in a competitive world we cannot afford to have men and women who want to work unable to carry on. Employers who support carers in their workforce will be rewarded with the loyalty and hard work of a talented group of people.”
Caroline Waters, director of people and policy at BT, said: “In BT’s experience, carers are a valued part of the workforce and supporting them brings bottom line benefits, as well as being the right thing to do.”