Just a third of employers (34%) have a formal written policy or an informal verbal policy in place to support working carers, according to a survey from the CIPD and Westfield Health.
Almost two-fifths (38%) of employers said that they do not have any policies to support working carers, or any plans to develop one. The report also found that just over one-tenth (13%) of organisations offer line managers training to help support working carers.
The problem is particularly prevalent in the private sector, where just 11% of organisations offer line manager training, 18% have a formal written policy aimed at supporting working carers, and only 20% know how many working carers are on the payroll.
David Capper, Westfield Health’s executive director, commercial, explained that caring can affect both the carers themselves and the businesses they work in.
“More than three million employees in the UK are providing informal care to older parents or dependents, and this figure is expected to rise as many more workers are likely to find themselves in the ‘sandwich generation’ – balancing job commitments with caring for older family members and looking after their own children,” he said.
“Caring not only impacts heavily on employees’ working lives, particularly in terms of health and wellbeing, but can also seriously affect employers through rising levels of absence and falling levels of productivity.
“With so many UK workers now facing these struggles working carers need to be on every employer’s agenda.”
The report makes recommendations for employers, including creating and promoting a broad working carers policy covering the organisational support available. It also calls on the government to develop a stronger evidence base, including good practice case studies, to showcase how employers can accommodate working carers.