More than 600 people quit work to look after older and disabled relatives every day
- 1 in 7 of the UK workforce caring for a loved one
- 2.6 million have quit their job to care
- Carers UK calls for better employment rights including five to 10 days paid care leave
New research by Carers UK reveals that 2.6 million have quit their job to care for a loved one who is older, disabled or seriously ill, with nearly half a million (468,000) leaving their job in the last two years alone - more than 600 people a day.
This is a 12 per cent increase since Carers UK and YouGov polled the public in 2013.
The findings also show that more people are caring than previously thought, with almost 5 million workers now juggling their paid job with caring – a dramatic rise compared with Census 2011 figures of 3 million.
The research emphasises the need for UK employers to support the rapidly increasing number of staff with caring responsibilities to stay in the workforce.
Previous research shows those aged 45-64 are most likely to have a caring responsibility, providing a strong driver for employers to support and retain some of their most skilled and experienced employees.
It comes as Employers for Carers, a group of more than 115 employers committed to supporting carers in the workplace and supported by Carers UK, marks its 10th anniversary as a formal forum and launches Carer Confident, the first UK-wide employer benchmarking scheme of its kind.
The pioneering scheme recognises and accredits UK employers who have built carer friendly and inclusive workplaces.
Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK, said:
“Better workplace support for people juggling paid work with caring for a loved one is becoming an increasingly important issue, with a growing need for employers to improve flexibility and, with an ageing population, support people to keep working for longer, contributing to better productivity.
“With 15% of the population now working and caring, there is a real social and economic imperative for UK businesses to adopt carer friendly workplaces. Carers UK is urging the Government to improve rights for people juggling work and care by introducing a new right of five to 10 days of paid care leave.
“Adequate care and support services are also a key condition for many people’s employment so it’s more important than ever that the Government’s forthcoming social care proposals deliver the high quality and affordable care services we need now and in the future.”
Asked what support from their employer would be most important if combining their job with unpaid care for a loved one, 89 per cent of UK adults said a supportive line manager/employer, 88 per cent said the option to work flexibly, and 80 per cent said five to 10 days paid care leave.
Asked what supportive employment policies are currently available for carers in their workplace, 38 per cent of UK employees said their employer had flexible working but only 12 per cent said they had additional paid care leave. A third (33 per cent) of people currently juggling work and care said that there were no policies listed to support carers. This suggests that for many carers, the lack of support in the workplace is a difficult reality.
7 per cent of people said unpaid caring had negatively impacted on their paid work, down from 10 per cent in 2013, indicating that measures by employers to support carers in the workplace have been working well for some.
Centrica, the parent company of British Gas, which has been working with Employers for Carers since its inception, has seen the business benefits of introducing flexible working and care leave for its staff as they have retained employees and reduced recruitment costs.
Simi Dubb, Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Centrica:
“We are working hard to retain a diverse and skilled workforce through our carers policies which includes paid carers leave and flexible working from day one of becoming a carer. It’s the right thing to do and we want to support our employees and share best practices with other businesses. We are also working with Carers UK to urge the Government to introduce more support for carers such as mandatory paid carers leave.”
The launch of Carer Confident and the 10th anniversary of Employers for Carers was marked by an event at which the Minister of State for Care, Caroline Dinenage, spoke.
Please contact the Carers UK press office on:
- 020 7378 4937 (9am-5pm, Monday-Friday)
- 07534 487 027/ 07941 273 108 (out of hours)
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
Carers UK is a charity registered in England and Wales (246329) and in Scotland (SC039307) and a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales (864097).
About the research
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 4,254 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 28th December 2018 - 4th January 2019. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2073 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 1st - 4th February 2013. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
All calculations by Carers UK using ONS population statistics for 2018.
About the Centrica and Carers UK partnership
The new partnership builds on a 15-year relationship between Centrica and Carers UK which has helped Centrica develop leading policies to support employees who are carers. This includes paid care leave and a thriving UK carers’ employee network.
Centrica is helping raise awareness of the challenges facing the care community and launching a number of initiatives designed to help to solve those challenges.