Today, one in nine people in any workplace are juggling work with caring for older, ill or disabled loved ones.
While employers in England are starting to realise the impact of caring on their own employees and their business, only a few are currently providing a Carer Passport as part of a wider package to identify and support carers and ultimately avoid losing carers from their workforce.
Many carers worry about their ability to continue to do their job for their employer, about the impact which caring has on them on a daily basis and on their career prospects. One explains, ‘My employer is very supportive and subscribes to fair employment, but there have been times when I have had to let them down. Records of my attendance reflect on my employment history’.
Many carers have had to leave work altogether because of their caring role, with some being forced to choose between work and caring – and choosing to care for a parent to ensure that they have what they need. If their employer can support them and not view with suspicion the need to occasionally leave work early if they are called as the first point of contact in an emergency, then work can offer respite from their caring role. With support, it’s something they are keen to continue to do.
A tool such as a Carer Passport can help to create a supportive working culture where staff feel that they have ‘permission’ to talk about their circumstances in a safe environment. It can also help communicate existing workplace support for carers and encourage managers to apply policies more consistently across the organisation.