Carer Positive Employers in Scotland - celebrating 10 years of best practice
From its launch during Carers Week in June 2014, the Carer Positive initiative has worked with and awarded over 265 organisations with ‘Carer Positive Employer’ recognition. Almost half a million employees are now represented within these workplaces, benefiting from workplace cultures and practice which value and support staff with caring responsibilities.
Our Carer Positive organisations span a wide range of small, medium and large employers across the public, private and voluntary sectors in Scotland, proving that any employer, whatever their size and structure, can take part in the awards framework.
We have seen some fantastic examples of support which have been developed over the years and feel immensely privileged to have built lasting partnerships with so many employers who have demonstrated real commitment to supporting the health and wellbeing of carers.
How we got here and some of our highlights
o Carers Scotland is funded by the Scottish Government to develop a new employer recognition scheme to raise awareness of working carers and support employers across Scotland to develop good practice.
o Wide ranging consultations with carers, employers and stakeholders undertaken to help design and develop the awards framework and criteria.
o The Carer Positive initiative is launched during Carers Week 2014 by the Minister for Public Health (Michael Matheson MSP).
o Carers Scotland promote the new awards scheme and start working with employers to develop workplace support and participate in the application process.
o Voluntary Action Shetland become recognised as the first Carer Positive Employer in Scotland.
o One year on from its launch, 30 organisations have been awarded as Carer Positive employers accounting for over 90,000 employees.
o Carers Link East Dunbartonshire becomes the first employer to become recognised as a Carer Positive Exemplary employer, along with Centrica in 2015.
o A Carer Positive event hosted by Wheatly Group in Glasgow showcases some of the best practice developed by participating employers.
o Employer videos are also launched to showcase employer and carer case studies.
o An event at the Scottish Parliament celebrates the work of Carer Positive and shares learning from some of our awarded employers.
o Young Scot become recognised as the 100th Carer Positive employer and receive their award at the Scottish Parliament.
o Another successful employer seminar on Carer Positive and Fair Work is hosted by RBS and features.
2020 - 2022
o Carer Positive turns its focus during the Covid pandemic to providing relevant information and support to employers and signposting carers to up to date resources. Employer events and award presentations go online.
o June 2020 saw our first online Carers Week event for employers.
o North Lanarkshire HSCP become recognised as the 200th Carer Positive employer in October 20 and receive their award at an online event with North Lanarkshire Carers Together.
o The first in person employer event returns with a partnership session from Carer Positive and Edinburgh and Lothian based Carers Centres and hosted by Natwest.
o We start the 10th anniversary year with 267 awarded employers, meaning a total of 495,560 employees can access workplace support for carers.
Here’s what some of our Carer Positive employers have said about their journey with us
“The process of applying to be a Carer Positive organisation was so simple from beginning to end. I am so proud that we signed up to this as an organisation. The difference it has made to our staff, some of whom unexpectedly found themselves in a very involved caring role, especially since Covid. It has meant that we have not only been able to provide flexible working but the emotional understanding and empathy which we have been able to show has meant a lot. Being open and discussing our policy has ensured that all the team have been supportive of the respective caring roles knowing that if/when the day comes that they find themselves with such a caring role that we as an organisation will be there to support them and help them find a workaround.” Sonia Cottom, The Pain Association
Highlands and Islands Enterprise is currently at the Established level of Carer Positive but aiming to achieve Exemplary in the not too distant future. The help and support we have received from Carers Scotland as we progress our Carer Positive journey has been invaluable
We strive to support staff who are in a caring role as best we can, to enable them to successfully balance their caring commitments with their work-related ones. We have a designated Carers’ Champion and our Carers’ policy is regularly reviewed and updated as necessary to take account of any changes in legislation. Our private Carer Peer Support Group provides a valuable forum on which staff with caring responsibilities can share information and experiences.
Some comments from our staff …..
- I really value HIE's commitment to being a Carer Positive employer. The staff Carer Peer Support Group is really helpful and worthwhile
- HIE provides an exceptional package of support, especially when it is difficult enough to navigate things during challenging times.
“I am proud to be a Carer Positive employer. I know it can be challenging for carers to balance work alongside their caring responsibilities. Doing what I can to offer support results in happy staff and better productivity.” Elena Whitham MSP
“North Lanarkshire Carers Together have been working in partnership with Carer Positive Team for over 5 years now , beginning our own journey back in ( can you add in the date?),We are a Carer Exemplary organisation with all of our staff team have caring responsibilities .Having a supportive employer allows us have a healthy work/caring/life balance.
Every year as part of carers week both NLCT and Carer Positive Team work together to deliver a workshop to support local employers in North Lanarkshire. We raise awareness of the carer positive scheme and showcase examples of good practice, recognising the skills and benefits to having unpaid carers within your organisation.
Congratulations CP team on your upcoming 10th Anniversary, you are a brilliant team dedicated to supporting carers in the workplace.
Your friends at NLCT “
“Being recognised as a Carer Positive organisation has meant that our employees who identify as carers can feel confident their caring responsibilities are valued within our workplace. We understand being a carer can be overwhelming for employees and being part of the Carer Positive network has given us access to resources which has allowed us to better support our team to balance work and caring responsibilities.” Kirsty Watson, HR Manager at Bell Ingram
"PKAVS have been part of the Carers Positive initiative for a number of years now and in that time we completed the Engaged, Established and now Exemplary award levels. We have found this to be a very worthwhile partnership as not only did it allow us an opportunity to reflect on the support we need to offer carers in our own workforce it also gave us the chance to promote the award across other employers in Perth & Kinross who could be offering similar support for carers in their workforces too. A conservative effort would indicate as many as 1 in 8 people in Scotland are trying to juggle work with caring responsibilities. With the right support that Carers Positive gives these staff can benefit from being part of a healthier and productive working environment."
“Thanks to the invaluable support from Carers Scotland, Agenor has transformed into a Carer Positive organisation, creating an environment that recognises and supports the needs of carers in our workforce. Carer Positive's process and guidance were crucial in helping us implement policies addressing the unique challenges faced by carers. Reaching Carer Positive Exemplary status this year is a testament to the dedicated collaboration between Agenor and Carers Scotland, reflecting our ongoing commitment to the well-being of our employees and their families. We strongly recommend the Carer Positive accreditation process for its positive impact on creating a carer-friendly approach in the workplace.”
"Becoming a Carer Positive member four years ago has increased TSB's awareness of the impacts on working carers and the difference that having a supportive employer has. It's been invaluable to TSB to have access to support, guidance and training for all colleagues.
This has helped shape TSB's industry-leading Carers Policy, supporting colleagues with up to 70 hours of paid leave for carers' and a carers' passport, helping colleagues discuss their caring responsibilities and access the support and resources available."
“We are incredibly proud of our Global Caring Policy and the difference it has made for colleagues across Edrington who have care responsibilities for family members or loved ones who are seriously ill, older or disabled. Being recognised as a Carer Positive employer has helped us to share our ongoing commitment to balancing care and work responsibilities with the world around us. More importantly, it has helped us to build connections, share best practice and learn from other Carer Positive organisations.” Louise MacDonald, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Manager at Edrington
"I am delighted to have been recognised as a Carer Positive Engaged employer.
I have always sought to be a supportive employer and I try to be flexible with my team as I know that adopting a flexible approach to working hours and practices, ultimately leads to having a happy and valued workforce. I believe adopting this approach also brings huge benefits to me as my team repay me with effort over and above what is expected of them.
It is important to take account of employees caring responsibilities, and to try to accommodate this whenever possible. The pandemic forced a lot of organisations to look at their workplace practices and to adapt accordingly to blend work with employees’ personal caring requirements and, as such, the standard ‘9 to 5’ routine is becoming a thing of the past as employers and employees seek more flexibility in the working week.
I congratulate Carers Scotland on the milestone 10th Anniversary of the Carer Positive Awards Scheme and wish everyone involved all the best for the next 10 years!"
Rhoda Grant MSP
"Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) became an engaged employer with Carer Positive in April 2022. We found everyone at Carer Positive very helpful and willing to support us on our journey to becoming a Carer Positive engaged employer and we are now working towards becoming an established employer. Becoming a Carer Positive employer enabled us to focus on the support we provided for carers and is now helping us to build an action plan for our Carer Positive journey."
“During this 10th anniversary year of the Carer Positive Awards scheme, I’m thrilled to help Carers Scotland celebrate this incredible milestone. The invaluable support provided by the Carer Positive initiative is widespread. My team and I are proud to be part of a community that prioritises and supports carers.
I encourage all employers to join the initiative and reap the benefits of being Carer Positive. It's a helpful and simple process. Creating a positive cultures for carers is the right thing to do. I would encourage employers to become Carer Positive, as it really is a win-win for organisations and their people.”
Monica Lennon MSP