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Caring for the carers

 Nicola Lee 6 Jun 2016

Is your workplace carer friendly? asks Nicola Lee

Carers Week (June 6 – June 12) is a chance to recognise the contribution 6 million carers make to families and communities throughout the UK.

Care responsibilities often fall on the women in a family, and the likelihood of becoming a family carer increases with age, with almost 1 in 5 workers aged between 50 and 64 having some kind of caring responsibilities outside of work. Many carers are known as “sandwich carers” as they look after both younger family members and elderly relatives.

Whilst carers have a number of legal rights at work, caring responsibilities make achieving a healthy work-life balance important, but even more challenging, for this group of staff.

It is here employers play a crucial role. By making flexible working opportunities available and creating a supportive working environment for working carers, employers can avoid losing valuable talent and skills. In fact, adopting flexible working opportunities can benefit all staff regardless of gender, age, and whether or not they have caring responsibilities.

As part of Carers Week 2016, Carers UK are asking organisations to pledge to meet the employment support needs of the carers they employ.  You can access how your workplace rates using this checklist and recommend your organisation if it is already carer friendly, or invite it to commit to becoming more carer friendly on their website.

Understanding the pressures carers are under – whether financial or health related - is something the Department of Health is also keen to discover more about to inform the development of a new strategy for carers. If you care for another person outside of work, you can give your views in their online survey

Healthy workplace, healthy you

Our Healthy workplace, healthy you campaign has resources to help you with work-life balance including advice for carers and resources for employers on the benefits of flexible working arrangements.