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Employers add support to Carers Rights Day

29 November 2012

Today is national Carers Rights Day, when over 850 events take place across the country to give advice and information to the UK’s 6.4 million carers, 3 million of whom juggle work and care. Carers Rights Day is supported by Sainsbury's and they, along with other Employers for Carers members, are using the day to promote good workplace practices which support staff with caring responsibilities.

Caroline Waters OBE, Director, People & Policy, for BT Group and Chair of Employers Forum Employers for Carers, said: “Employers are seeing increasing numbers of key staff forced to give up work because the support they need to combine work and caring for ill or disabled loved ones just isn’t available when they need it. Demographic change means that increasingly, caring for older or disabled loved ones coincides with childcare. This poses new challenges to the productivity and economic activity of the nation - with businesses risking the loss of skills and talent and the significant investment it represents, if support at work and local services are not available to enable families to juggle work and care effectively.”

Heléna Herklots, Chief Executive of Carers UK said: “An ageing population means that caring for older or disabled loved ones is inevitable for all our families. Workplace and care services must catch up with this reality of family life. As the costs of childcare place a real strain on families’ ability to work, this research shows that finding affordable, good quality and flexible care for older parents or disabled loved ones is every bit as much of a challenge to families trying to juggle work and care.”

Carers UK is calling for urgent reform of social care funding, measures to stimulate a new generation of affordable care services, effective use of technology to help families juggle work with caring responsibilities and advice and information to ensure families can access support.

Carers UK is also highlighting the need for employers to consider flexible working packages for people with caring responsibilities. Sainsbury’s is one of just a few companies in the FTSE 100 with policies to support carers in the workplace. The company also raised £44,000 from the sale of Jubilee-themed bags for life earlier this year, to support the Carers UK Advice Line.

Justin King, Chief Executive of Sainsbury’s, who hosted the launch of Carers Rights Day said: “By working together with groups such as Carers UK, we have identified that over 20,000 of our colleagues at Sainsbury’s have caring responsibilities. We now have a carers policy, which includes offering flexible working packages for our colleagues and raising awareness in stores about carers’ rights and the practical support on offer. Creating flexible, rewarding jobs is not only part of being a great place to work, it helps us retain skilled and valuable people, which is why we’re proud to say that our turnover is currently at a record low.”



Notes for Editors:

  • Employers for Carers is an innovative and growing service for employers, chaired by BT and supported by Carers UK. Its key purpose is to provide help to employers to support the one in seven carers in their workforce. Launched in 2009 there are now 60 members representing one million employers.
  • There are a total of over 6.4 million carers in the UK today. Every year over 2 million people become carers and by 2037 it is estimated there will be 9 million carers in the UK.
  • Carers UK supports the millions of people who care for an elderly relative, a sick partner or a disabled family member, provides information and advice about caring and campaigns to make life better for carers.
  • Carers Rights Day, 30th November 2012, will see over 800 local groups across the UK running advice, information and support events. The theme this year is ‘Getting help in tough times’ – helping carers find financial help, get practical help and make the most of technology. Carers Rights Day is supported by Sainsbury’s, Tunstall Healthcare Ltd. and the Big Lottery Fund. 
  • Carers UK is also launching a new version of Looking after someone – a guide to carers’ rights and entitlements, a comprehensive guide. The guide is available free to carers who can order a copy from Carers UK’s Adviceline on 0808 808 7777.

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