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Supporting Carers at Work: Carers Rights Day report

25 November 2021

To coincide with Carers Rights Day, Carers UK today launched new research ‘Supporting carers at work: opportunity and imperative’ which showed that whilst some employers were more supportive of carers within their workplace, a significant proportion of carers were at risk of reducing their working hours or giving up work altogether if they did not get the right support measures in place.

The results also show how tough continuing to juggle work and providing unpaid care can be. Three quarters (72%) of working carers were worrying about continuing to juggle work and care and 77% felt tired at work because of the demands of their unpaid caring role. Six out of ten had given up opportunities at work because of their caring responsibilities.

Some employers have implemented more flexible working measures and become more supportive, but carers’ ability to work is still at risk if there is not more widespread adoption of support.

34% of working carers said that their employer had become much more understanding of caring during the pandemic and half (51%) said that their line manager understood caring well and was supportive. Around half (52%) said they had benefited from more flexible working in the workplace. However, one quarter (24%) said their employer was not understanding of caring.

Whilst four in ten (39%) of all working carers could work from home most or some of the time, 11% said they needed this at work and a further 12% (one in eight) said that if they didn’t have this, they would be at risk of reducing their working hours of giving up work altogether. Flexibility is essential to keep carers in paid employment, with 53% of carers saying that returning to the workplace would be more challenging. For others, the workplace provides an essential break from caring.

One in five (22%) working carers had the ability to take paid Carer’s Leave, 45% said they needed it and a further 13% said they were at risk of reducing their working hours or giving up work altogether if they didn’t have it. 36% had the ability to take unpaid Carer’s Leave.

By far the biggest risk factor to carers leaving work was the lack of social care. One in five (20%) of all working carers said they needed affordable and accessible care otherwise they would be at risk of reducing their working hours or giving up altogether. Similarly, one in ten (10%) needed services they used to rely on to return or they faced the same risks.

This is not a surprise given earlier research by Carers UK which found that 55% of carers who relied on day services were experiencing a reduction in support or no access at all. Around one third of carers who relied on care workers had experienced the same.

Juggling work and unpaid care was already a challenge pre-pandemic, with an estimated 600 people a day giving up work to care. This has costs for carers’ finances in the short and longer term, but it also has an impact on business productivity pre-pandemic with an estimated £8.2 billion which could be gained economically by more supportive working practices.1 

 

You can read the full document here or downloaded using the button below

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