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MSPs to debate need to support carers in employment

10 January 2018

Tomorrow, Thursday 11th January, following First Ministers Questions, MSPs will take part in a members debate led by Renfrewshire South MSP, Tom Arthur - the first MSP to be awarded a Carer Positive award. 

Carer Positive is a Scottish Government funded initiative, launched in June 2014 and operated by Carers Scotland across the whole of Scotland.

It aims to raise awareness of the growing number of carers in the workforce, and to award recognition to those employers with good practice in supporting these employees. It also promotes the business case  for employers to support carers. There are three  award levels which employers can progress through and a straightforward application process which is suitable to all sizes and structures of organisations.

90 organisations have been recognised as ‘Carer Positive Employers’, covering around 295,500 employees in Scotland. These include local authorities, health boards and other public bodies; utility companies; further and higher education institutions; and a range of voluntary sector organisations and private companies.

Why this is important

  • There are around 760,000 unpaid carers in Scotland, with this figure forecast to increase significantly as the population ages.

  • Around 270,000 people are estimated to be juggling work with caring responsibilities – as many as 1 in 8 of the workforce

  • As people work longer, more and more of the workforce are taking on the dual roles of working and caring

  • Without the right support in the workplace, a significant number of carers leave paid employment – this has implications for the individuals, their families and employers

  • With the right support, employers retain skilled and valuable staff, and all employees benefit from a healthier and more productive working environment  

Support and resources

Carers Scotland provides support and advice to help employers become Carer Positive, and a range of information resources are also available, including examples of good practice  developed within some of the awarded organisations.  We also continue to gather feedback on how the initiative has benefited both carers and employers. 

We have worked with some of our Carer Positive employers to produce a series of videos designed to highlight best practice in supporting employees with caring responsibilities. Each video features the experiences of carers and their employers, showing the benefits of good support from both perspectives.  Organisations featured are:


  • Members debate will take place directly following First Ministers Questions.  To read the motion for the debate click here.
  • Carers Scotland is encouraging MSPs to lead the way and become Carer Positive employers. Following on from Tom Arthur's award, a further 4 MSPs have been awarded a Carer Positive Engaged Award.  These are Graeme Dey MSP for Angus South, Maree Todd MSP for Highlands and Islands, Jeane Freeman MSP for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley and Aileen Campbell MSP for Clydesdale.
  • A range of resources are available to support employers of all sizes to become Carer Positive.  Click here  to see all resources and further sources of information.
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