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Flexible working can cause problems for carers

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Flexible working can cause as many problems for employees who are also domestic carers as it solves, according to My Family Care director Ben Black.

Black told HR magazine the increase of staff working non-traditional hours can "remove the traditional network" of friends and families for those that need support due to their caring responsibilities.

He was commenting on the CIPD/Simplyhealth Absence Management Survey. It suggests flexible working is the most common type of support for employees who need to juggle their working life with caring duties at home.

More than two-thirds (68%) of employers offer flexible working as a solution. This makes it more common than compassionate leave (53%) and carers leave (48%).

Black added that thousands of workers in the UK are classified as carers but do not realise it.

"People who drop in to check on their parents once a week can be classified as carers," he said. "This first step to supporting these people is identifying them. Only then can you work out the best way to support them within employment."

He continued: "But flexible working doesn't work for everyone. Especially for male employees, it might not be supported as well at it should be in some workplaces. And as people are working later due to flexible working it is sometimes part of the problem as well as part of the solution."

CIPD research adviser Jill Miller called effective support for carers a "key issue" in employment today. She stressed that flexible working can be an effective tool in supporting carers.

"It’s proven that flexible working can improve engagement and productivity within the workforce," she said. "With this in mind, hopefully in the future more workers will be able to handle the demands of caring.”