More than half of ‘sandwich carers’ – people who look after both children and older relatives – find balancing their work and home lives difficult, according to research from wellbeing company BHSF.
BHSF estimates that 1.3 million people in the UK fall into the sandwich carer category, and London-based workers struggle the most. While one in six nationally say that their responsibilities are always too much to cope with, a quarter of London sandwich carers feel this way.
These employees may be further away from extended family members who can help, said BHSF, and face longer commutes that add to their stress.
Fifty-nine percent of London-based sandwich carers said that having to juggle caring responsibilities with work duties was having a negative impact on their physical health, while 56% said it affected their mental health.
Brian Hall, BHSF’s chief commercial officer, said one of the reasons for this trend is that many people put off having children until their 30s, while at the same time life expectancy continues to increase so they may face having to look after children and older relatives at the same time.
He said: “Our research shows just how difficult it is to manage the demands of caring for children and elderly relatives while holding down a job.
“The number of employees on the brink is startling, and employers need to take note. Employees are in desperate need of support that extends beyond the workplace and can be accessed as and when they need it – which is often outside of working hours. Because the needs of the workforce are so varied, employers should consider wellbeing benefits that bring together multiple resources and access to specialists.”
Last year, a report by Carers UK urged the government to act on the Conservative Party’s 2017 pledge to introduce specific employment rights for working carers, but this is still yet to happen.