Carers Week Statement from Phoenix Group
We believe that no-one should have to choose between working and caring for someone they love. It’s vital that people are supported in balancing their caring responsibilities alongside their career and that they are not excluded from the workforce. We know that having a greater diversity of thought, experience and outlook within our business will help us better understand our stakeholders and meet their varied and changing needs. For all these reasons, we are fully supporting this important annual awareness raising week for carers and the work of Carers Scotland throughout the year.
With increasing life expectancy and an ageing population the importance of informal carers will only become greater. We researched the impact caring can have on future finances and found that over half (56%) of carers are worried about their lifestyle in retirement. Overall, we found that 3 in ten workers believe they may have to give up their job due to unsupportive employers if they had to take on a new or greater caring role. As many organisations across the UK continue to looking at future ways of working, it’s a real opportunity to consider how best to support working carers and help them to stay employed.
At Phoenix our policies recognise that many of our colleagues will have a caring commitment at some point in their working lives. As well as offering support such as ten days paid carers leave, employee assistance and a committed carers colleague network, we have an ongoing dialogue with carers to help us learn and consider the future adaptations we may make to provide even greater support. This goes beyond supporting existing carers in the workplace, we are also looking to enable carers to enter or return to the workplace. Carers often struggle to gain employment, yet can offer a valuable set of skills and experience.
Emerging from the pandemic, we believe that many of the barriers carers have traditionally faced in gaining or retaining employment can be addressed. We recently called on Government to accelerate legislation on five days’ statutory Carer’s Leave and asked businesses, who can, to make Carer’s Leave paid leave. This would help relieve some of the pressures employed carers face and enable them to continue in their current employment.
Claire Hawkins, Corporate Affairs and Investor Relations Director at Phoenix Group and Executive Committee sponsor of the Phoenix colleague Carers Network