New research launched today by Aviva suggests an estimated 2.6 million people in the UK aged 45 and above expect to give up work to care for older or disabled relatives. The research shows the impact is likely to be greater for women than for men, with 20% of women believing they would need to give up work to care compared with 17% of men.
Yet the research found that only 6% of employers were treating this as a critical issue.
Responding to the research Helen Walker, Chief Executive at Carers UK, said:
“Juggling work and care is becoming one of the most pressing employment issues of our time. Aviva’s research sends a strong message to both Government and employers that we need to do more to support unpaid carers to stay in work.
“Carers UK’s own research shows that 2.6 million people have already given up work to care – more than 600 people a day - with devastating impacts on their finances in the short and longer term.
“Flexible working, supportive practices and five to ten days of paid care leave can make all the difference to carers in the workforce, whilst also saving on business recruitment and retention costs.
“As well as this, a properly funded social care system with quality, affordable care services is a key condition for people to remain in work. The Prime Minister has said he will make social care a priority and we urge him to bring forward proposals for reform that have unpaid carers at the heart.”
Carers UK is already working with leading employers like Aviva and Centrica through our Employers for Carers forum and it is vital that other employers follow suit.
Centrica has estimated that their policies for carers have contributed to a combined saving of £2.1 million on the bottom line by improving carers’ health and wellbeing at work, their ability to manage care and work, and reducing the number who leave as a result of caring.
Both Aviva and Centrica have policies which give carers within their workforce paid care leave, something we would like to see more employers adopt.