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Sainsbury's ups commitment to flexible working through innovative partnership with Carers UK

Sainsbury's is to develop its flexible working policies for employees with caring responsibilities following a tie up today with Carers UK.

The food retailer is to join the leadership group of Employers for Carers, a membership forum of employers committed to working carers, chaired by BT and supported by Carers UK.

The partnership – a first for a UK retailer – means that Sainsbury’s will benefit from the charity’s experience and expertise, ensuring that managers will have access to the materials they need to better recognise and accommodate the needs of colleagues who have caring responsibilities.

Jacki Connor, director of colleague engagement at Sainsbury's, said the company had not realised the scale of the issue previously.

"There are 21,000 of our colleagues that have caring responsilbities. When you start talking to people about the scale of it they think 'we can make a huge difference to people’.

"Every single one of us during the course of our lives will be a carer and it's about treating people in the way that you'd like to be treated when that happens to you."

She added that the partnership made business sense. "If colleagues are engaged, they want to come and work for us. It's just about keeping great people and making them want to stay with us."

The latest research from Carers UK shows that around one in eight adults are carers and around one in seven in any workplace.


Madeleine Starr, head of policy development at Carers UK, said: "Supporting carers in the workplace is not just about helping families to manage their daily lives but it is also about helping employers to retain talent and healthy, productive staff in their workforce which is vital for a strong economy."