Working Potential Employers
What is a working carer?
The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) defines a working carer as ‘someone in full or part time employment, who also provides unpaid support, or who looks after a family member, partner or friend who needs help because of their age, physical or mental illness or disability.’
- 1 in 8 employees in the UK have caring responsibilities
- Each day 6,000 people pick up new caring responsibilities
- 3 in 5 people in the UK will be carers at some point in their lives
- The peak age for caring is 50-64, by which time employees have acquired a lot of experience and skills, which are costly to replace
- Research shows that without proper support from employers, a carer’s ability to remain in employment is at risk once the time spent caring reaches as little as 10 hours per week
- 1 in 5 carers are forced to give up work altogether.
Working carers are a growing trend – with today’s ageing population and people set to live longer than ever, increasing numbers of employees are trying to balance work commitments with caring for family members, friends or neighbours (see ADASS definition above).
At the same time, stressed by the lack of flexibility at work, carers are being driven from the workplace prematurely because a manageable work/life balance is just too hard to achieve.
Recognising that there are carers in your workforce and supporting them to manage their caring responsibilities and work will:
- reduce employee stress and improve job performance
- improve job satisfaction and commitment to your organisation
- decrease staff turnover and frequency of sick leave/absence
- prevent loss of talent and productivity
- protect your bottom line, unlocking significant economic gains as well as reversing the losses
Additionally, becoming a more diverse and socially responsible employer can make you more appealing not only to your employees, but also to your clients and customers who genuinely value a corporate reputation based on fairness and compassion.
At the same time, by increasing the pool from which you draw talent as a result of adapting to carers’ needs means you can offer the same flexibility in working arrangements to parents with school age children, people with disabilities and other candidates with personal circumstances that mean they need just that little bit more support in the workplace.
Regardless of the size of your business, or the sector in which it operates, anyone can become more #careraware. If you are recruiting right now in Bolton, Salford or Wigan you can also support our programme's research and delivery by:
- spending approximately an hour of your time talking through the barriers employers of your size and sector typically encounter recruiting or retaining carers
- attending a free Working Potential employer forum to discuss the challenges of supporting carers and to explore practical and affordable solutions
- exploring examples of any existing carer/age-friendly support with our networks and identifying and promoting best practice
- talking through any other ideas you have that will help us in our goals.
Any input you can offer at all will significantly help us to reach our two project goals:
- to learn about the best ways of supporting carers, over 50, into employment
- to understand the barriers that employers face when recruiting and supporting carers in work.
The findings from all our research will inform the publication of guidance that seeks to help both carers looking for employment, and employers seeking to implement carer friendly policies and practices.
Recommended documentation for employers
Supporting older staff as carers: A briefing for VCSE organisations produced by Ambition for Ageing
The Health and Social Care Partnership’s GM Working Carer Toolkit: designed to help all employers support their working carers.
Top tips for supporting working carers produced by ADASS (Association of Directors of Adult Social Services) Humber & the North West
Supporting working carers: the benefits to families, business and the economy produced by the government in conjunction with Carers UK and Employers for Carers
Helping carers to stay in, or return to, employment produced by the Social Care Institute for Excellence
How employers can support carers produced by Personnel Today
Carers in your workforce matter - how can I retain the skills of my employees who are carers produced by Skills for Care Ltd
Useful contacts for carer employees
A great starting point is signposting people to the Carer’s UK help and support page, and asking them to fill in the questions on the Upfront Guide where they will be directed to the right services. The advice line is open on Mondays and Tuesdays between 10am and 4pm - 0808 808 7777.
There are also carers’ organisations across Greater Manchester who offer support locally and whose details are below: