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300,000 people in Scotland give up work to care unpaid for a loved one

05 February 2019
  • 1 in 7 of Scottish workforce caring for a loved one
  • More than 300,000 people in Scotland have quit their job to care
  • Carers Scotland marks five years of Carer Positive employer benchmarking scheme

New research by Carers Scotland reveals that more than 300,000 people in Scotland have quit their job to care for a loved one who is older, disabled or seriously ill.

The research shows the average number of carers in the workplace is 15% across the UK, meaning almost 400,000 people in Scotland are juggling their paid job with caring. That is one in seven of all workers in Scotland.

The research emphasises the need for Scottish 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 in the year marking the fifth anniversary of the Scottish Government funded initiative Carer Positive. The pioneering scheme encourages employers to support their staff with caring responsibilities and understand the business case for doing this. Over 130 organisations across Scotland have been recognised as Carer Positive Employers, awarded for their commitment and actions in developing carer friendly and inclusive workplaces.

 Simon Hodgson, Director of Carers Scotland, said:

“Better workplace support for people juggling paid work with caring for a loved one is becoming increasingly important, 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 Scottish population now working and caring, there is a real social and economic imperative for businesses to adopt carer friendly workplaces. Carers Scotland wants to see 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.

“Sufficient and flexible 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 Scottish Gas, is an Exemplary Carer Positive employer, and has been working with Carers Scotland for many years. They have 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.”

 READ THE FULL REPORT HERE

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About Carers Scotland

Carers Scotland is the Scottish nation office of Carers UK.  We are 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

For practical advice and information about caring, www.carerscotland.org or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

To find out more about Carer Positive and how employers can support carers in the workplace, visit www.carerpositive.org

 

The Carers UK Forum is our online community of carers and is available to carers, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  Carers can join the forum and Carers Scotland at: www.carersuk.org/forum.

Website:          www.carerscotland.org

Facebook:       www.facebook.com/CarersScotland   

Twitter:            @CarersScotland

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. 

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.

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