More understanding of caring is needed within the workplace, according to research published today by Employers for Carers.
The business forum, part of Carers UK, said 7 in 10 working carers have felt lonely or isolated at work as a result of their caring responsibilities for older, seriously ill, or disabled family members.
Half of the UK’s 6.5 million carers juggle work and care with one in nine people in the workforce combining paid work with unpaid. Despite this, caring still remains a relatively hidden issue in many workplaces – 38% of those surveyed were not comfortable talking about their caring responsibilities at work. One in six working carers (16%) said that they felt isolated because they felt like they were the only person in this situation and over four in ten (43%) reported that their colleagues and managers didn’t understand the impact of these caring responsibilities.
The top priority for workplace support was improved and consistent manager awareness of caring issues (37%) and more flexible/special leave arrangements (37%).
Ian Peters, chair of Employers for Carers, and MD of British Gas said: “Supporting carers to remain in employment means creating an open and understanding workplace where employees can find out about the flexibility that may be available from their employer, get peer support from colleagues in a similar position and find information about practical and emotional support available outside of work. For business, the message is simple: unless workplaces provide better support for carers they will continue to see growing numbers of their most experienced staff leaving employment.”
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