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Employers urged to increase support, as colleagues fail to identify ‘hidden’ carers

24 November 2017
Massive gap in awareness highlighted, as more than 3 in 5 workers say they don’t know ‘a single carer at work'.


The working population drastically underestimates the number of co-workers who care for loved ones, leading to a shortfall in support, according to new research by Carers UK released for Carers Rights Day (24 November).

The research shows that 3 in 5 (62%) people in work believe they ‘don’t know a single colleague’ who cares for an ill, older or disabled loved one, despite the fact that 1 in 9 juggle work with care.[1] Even amongst those who managed or were aware of carers in the workplace, a striking number did not direct them to further information (64%).

  • Women (27%) are 10% more likely than men (17%) to say they know a colleague who is caring
  • Employees at the peak caring age of 45-54 years old are only slightly more likely than average to recognise one or more carers at work (24%).

A worryingly low number of UK respondents felt that if they identified a new carer they would ‘not feel confident’ directing them to further information about caring, including financial or practical support (42%).
With a majority of colleagues failing to identify or support co-workers who care for a loved one, the research highlights a pertinent need for employers, human resources professionals and line-managers to start a dialogue around caring in the workplace.
The research comes one year after Carers UK’s Missing Out report found that the two in five (42%) carers who missed out on support because they had not recognised themselves as carers had to give up work as a result.[2]
This Carers Rights Day (24 November), Carers UK is urging human resources staff and decision-makers to act to raise the profile of working carers and make it easier for them to access support both in and outside the workplace, including efforts to:

  • Publicise policies such as flexible working and care leave to create a culture of inclusion and support for carers, which helps retain talent
  • Increase visibility of carers issues by signposting to existing carer-friendly policies and setting up channels, such as a forum or network, for carers to make their voices heard
  • Engage with forums like Employers for Carers in order to benefit from practical resources and support for HR and line managers and dedicated information about caring for employees.

Katherine Wilson, Head of Employers for Carers said:

“We know that carers can benefit hugely from early support and recognition, yet a majority of the UK’s 3 million working carers remain largely ‘hidden in plain sight’ amongst their co-workers. 

Concerted efforts to start a conversation about caring is valuable to both employees, who can benefit from carer-friendly policies such as flexible working, and employers looking to retain top talent and boost productivity.

This Carers Rights Day, we are encouraging employers to make their employees aware of the support available for carers both within and outside the workplace and their entitlement to relevant financial and practical support. 

Signposting to Carers Rights Day resources and engaging with a forum like Employers for Carers, is a fantastic first step in equipping managers and colleagues with the tools needed to support carers.”


Media contact 

Case studies and spokespeople are available upon request. Please contact the Carers UK press office on: 
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
• 020 7378 4972 / 020 7378 4942   (Mon-Fri)
• 07534 487 027 / 07941 273 108 (out of hours)

Notes to editors
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 4511 adults of which 2,484 were workers. Fieldwork was undertaken between 30th October - 7th November 2017. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).
About Carers Rights Day
Carers Rights Day is a national awareness day organised by the Carers UK, a national charity that represents, supports and speaks up for the 6.5 million carers in the UK.
Each year we hold Carers Rights Day to bring organisations across the UK together to help carers in their local community know their rights and find out how to get the help and support they are entitled to.
With the support of Sainsbury’s and Nutricia Advanced Medical Nutrition Carers UK has updated its Looking After Someone Guide which provides key information on carers’ entitlements. Hundreds of groups around the UK are organising activity for Carers Rights Day and have received free copies of the Latest Looking After Someone Guide.
About Carers UK

Carers UK is a charity led by carers, for carers – our mission is to make life better for carers. 
•              We give expert advice, information and support
•              We connect carers so no-one has to care alone
•              We campaign together for lasting change
•              We innovate to find new ways to reach and support carers

About Employers for Carers
Employers for Carers is a group of employers committed to working carers, supported by the specialist knowledge of Carers UK. Their key purpose is to ensure that employers have the support to retain employees with caring responsibilities, with the backing of changes in national policy. For more details about Employers for Carers, how to join and what services are available please, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or telephone 020 7378 4975.

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