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Research reveals over 2 million quit work to care

06 March 2013

A staggering 2.3 million adults have given up work to care for an elderly parent, disabled or seriously ill loved ones, Carers UK and business forum Employers for Carers (EfC) today reveal.

A Carers UK/YouGov Poll shows just over 1 in 5 UK adults have seen their work negatively impacted as a result of caring (22%), including 2.3 million[1] who have quit work and almost 3 million[2] who have reduced working hours.

The impact was highest amongst 45-54 year olds, where more than 1 in 4 reported that caring had taken a toll on their work (27%).

Carers UK has pointed to the impact on family finances of giving up work or cutting working hours – including the risk of financial hardship and debt and the long-term damage to carers’ careers and pensions. Previous estimates also indicated that the cost to the economy of carers being forced to give up work to care showed had reached £5.3 billion in lost tax revenues and earnings and additional benefit payments[3].

The new polling is published to coincide with the 10th anniversary of Employers for Carers which, chaired by business leaders and supported by charity Carers UK, helps employers to support and retain the 1 in 7 carers in any workplace.

Heléna Herklots, Chief Executive of Carers UK said:

 “Caring for ageing parents or a disabled loved one is part and parcel of life, but these figures show that families are still not getting the support they need to enable them to balance work, life and caring.

As with childcare a generation ago, employers can play a critical role in shifting how we as a society support people with family responsibilities. But support from employers can only go so far, and families need to be able to access reliable, good quality and affordable care and support services to enable them to juggle work and care. Without urgent action from Government to ensure families can access this support, 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.”

 New Employers for Carers Chair, Ian Peters, Managing Director of British Gas Residential Energy [4], said

“Employers for Carers has led the way in promoting effective workplace practice to support staff with caring responsibilities. 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 who 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.”

Employers for Carers comprises 70 employers and over one million employees. Member organisations range from micro businesses, to SMEs and large employers such as Sainsbury’s, BT Group, British Gas, PricewaterhouseCoopers and London Fire Brigade.

-ENDS-

Notes for Editors:

Employers for Carers is a growing membership forum of employers committed to working carers, chaired by BT (to be replaced by British Gas from April) and supported by the specialist knowledge of Carers UK. With over 70 member organisations representing over a million employees from the private and public sectors, its key purpose is to provide practical advice and assistance to employers seeking to support and retain the 1 in 7 carers in their workforce. It has longstanding experience of working with employers such as BT, British Gas/Centrica, the Metropolitan Police, PricewaterhouseCoopers and the NHS, to support carers wishing to remain in or return to work. www.employersforcarers.org

The Carers UK/ YouGov total sample size was 2073 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 1st - 4th FebruaryThe survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+). According to the 2011 Census the UK adult population (18+) is 49,264,545.

When asked “has caring for an elderly parent or, a seriously ill or disabled loved one (i.e. helping with washing, dressing, eating,  hospital visits, running errands etc.) ever had any impact on your work?” those with caring roles answered:

A total of 22% stated their work had been affected - 4% gave up work to care for an elderly parent, or an ill or disabled loved one; 6% reduced their working hours to care for an elderly parent, or an ill or disabled loved one; 10% said their work  had been negatively affected by caring for an elderly parent, or an ill or disabled loved one (e.g. stress or tiredness); 4% said other impact. 16% said they had cared for an elderly parent, or an ill or disabled loved one, but their work was not affected.

The Carers UK/YouGov poll forms part of the recently launched Carers UK Caring & Family Finances Inquiry.  For more information on the Carers UK Caring & Family Finances Inquiry, please visit www.carersuk.org

 


[1] 4.47% of UK adults polled said that they had given up work to care – the equivalent of 2,315,433 adults

[2]  5.79% said they had reduced working hours – representing 2,852,417 adults

[4] In April, Ian Peters replaces Caroline Waters OBE, formerly Director of People and Policy at BT who has become Deputy Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission

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