One-third of employers offer leave to staff who are carers, research shows

Caring for someone with who is older can be highly unpredictable
Caring for someone with who is older can be highly unpredictable

One employer in three offers leave to employees who are juggling work and care commitments, according to research by XpertHR published on 12 May, and the average amount of leave available is 6.3 days per year.

Many employers also offer the right to request flexible working, in advance of new regulations extending the right to all staff which come into force on 30 June 2014. Where employees had requested a flexible working arrangement, 100% of these requests were granted.

Rachel Suff, XpertHR researcher and author of the report, said: “Enabling carers to work flexibly could be key to helping this group of employees meet their work and caring responsibilities. It is a testament to the positive level of employers’ support for carers that, where employees had requested a flexible working arrangement, 100% of these requests were granted.

The research found 38.9% of employers have a written policy covering the rights of carers. However, only one in 10 has a dedicated written carers policy, with others incorporating their arrangements in another policy, typically their flexible working policy.

“Having a policy dedicated to the issue of caring sends a message to employees that the organisation attaches importance to caring responsibilities, and acts as a clear point of reference for employees who want to understand their rights and the support available to them,” said Suff.

“Employees who have care responsibilities often form a hidden group but can face a number of difficult issues – physical, financial and emotional. Organisations that deal effectively with their obligations towards carers can reap the benefits in terms of enhanced employee engagement and retention,” she added.

The research reveals that carers in the workplace are not an homogeneous group. Caring responsibilities for children can follow a recognised pattern with distinct phases such as pre-school age, primary and secondary school stages. However, caring for someone who is older – or who has an illness or disability – can be highly unpredictable.

“The provision that employers make available to carers needs to take account of this unpredictability and be as flexible as possible,” says Suff.

One Response to One-third of employers offer leave to staff who are carers, research shows

  1. Yecco 14 May 2014 at 5:37 pm #

    This is great news because there are 1 in 7 carers in every workforce.

    Yecco have just launched the UK’s first emergency care at home insurance policy to support unpaid family carers who are in employment. Our policy, underwritten by Allianz Global Assistance, means that when an employee’s disabled or elderly relative has an accident or hospitalisation, a replacement carer will be provided immediately for up to 6 weeks.

    Our policy not only reduces the amount of sick days for employees caring for a relative, but also increases productivity as the policy reduces the anxiety that working carers often feel. 45% of carers in employment have even given up work to care for a relative, which our policy ultimately aims to reduce, if not, prevent.

    It would be good to hear what other companies are doing to support carers in their workforce.