Millions giving up work to become carers

More than 2.3 million adults have given up work to care for elderly, disabled or seriously ill relatives, and almost 3 million have reduced their working hours, a survey reveals today.

According to figures from Carers UK and the business forum Employers for Carers (EFC), one adult in five has seen their work affected for the worse as a result of caring, with this highest among 45- to 54-year-olds. More than a quarter of those surveyed reported work strains after caring for their dependents.

The figures show that maintaining a work-life balance is crucial for productive employees. Helena Herklots, chief executive of Carers UK, said employers must support their employees to help prevent significant costs to their organisation.

“As with childcare a generation ago, employers can play a critical role in shifting how we as a society support people with family responsibilities,” she said.

“Millions more will see their careers and earnings suffer – with long-term personal costs to families and significant costs to business and the UK economy.”

Chair of EFC Ian Peters said organisations that support carers by helping them balance their work and caring commitments are more likely to see a positive effect on the bottom line: “Our core message is that supporting carers in our workforces is not just about being a good employer, it is good for business – improving productivity and reducing workplace stress, reducing staff turnover and recruitment costs, and enabling us to retain the talent and experience of staff that we would otherwise lose.

“However, these findings highlight that much more needs to be done to make supporting colleagues who juggle work and care part of normal workplace practice, and ensure that families can access the advice, support and services they need to enable them to combine work and home life.”

Visit XpertHR’s Good practice guide: carers for more information.

XpertHR FAQs on carers’ rights

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