Supporting Employees Who Care
Data from the 2011 Census showed there were approximately 800,000 carers aged 16+ in Scotland. Many of your employees will be carers. There are estimated to be over 171,000 carers aged 16+ caring for 35 hours a week or more, providing unpaid care for a family member or friend each week and of these, many are still in paid work. Many carers struggle to balance their work and caring responsibilities, others feel they have to make a choice between the two.
Caring for someone can be physically exhausting and emotionally stressful, with these pressures resulting in many carers feeling unsupported, isolated and alone.
Employees do not have to tell their employer that they are a carer. However, where an employer is made aware of an employee with caring responsibilities, employers can take simple, but effective action to enable carers to balance their caring and employment responsibilities.
Support from an employer can help employees to effectively juggle work with their caring responsibilities and achieve a healthier work/life balance. Offering flexible working could assist with:
- attracting and retaining staff
- reducing stress
- increasing resilience and productivity
- reducing sick leave
- improving service delivery
- increasing staff morale
- employers supporting carers
As an employee you do not need to make your employer aware that you are a carer, however they may be able to support you in ways you hadn’t considered, or even just have regular support sessions to see how you are. Knowing that your employer is happy to listen and provide support if you need it, particularly if circumstances may change for you due to your caring role, can have a hugely positive impact.
There are a number of options for employers to consider about how to support carers in the workplace. It is important to create a culture in which every employees understand that carers may be present within the organisation feel able to talk about their responsibilities.
Carer Positive is a Scottish Government funded initiative and the award has 3 levels or stages. Organisations go through a self-assessment process and the Carer Positive status is awarded to employers who can provide evidence of best practice when supporting carers in the workplace.
For more information or to apply for the award visit www.carerpositive.org