What If We Made Work Better for Carers?

Post author image. Guest Editor
As part of Carers Week Business in the Community (BITC) is asking employers to upgrade policies to help all people that act as carers.

This week is #CarersWeek.

Many employees need to be able to provide care for family and friends, yet many struggle to balance this with their work. What if all carers were provided with the support they needed to make their work good for them?

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased caring pressures and shone a light on the impact that caring responsibilities have on employees, and heightened fears that these pressures may have set the inclusion clock back. Leading employers are now recognising that by providing the right support for all types of carers, they can retain talent and support diversity.

What can employers do?

Business in the Community (BITC) is asking employers to build back responsibly from the pandemic, by upgrading policies to help all people that care for their families1.

To do this, employers can:

  • Embed flexible working into the organisational culture.
    Flexible working is one of the most important ways to help all types of carers2. Yet despite the changes seen during the pandemic, only a minority of employers plan to upgrade flexible working over the next year3.
  • De-gender parental care.
    More women are involved in caring4 and during COVID-19 we have seen the majority of parental care responsibilities fall on women. Businesses should seek to enable people of all genders to share care5.
  • Offer carers leave to informal carers.
    Offering just five days of carers leave for informal carers can make a huge difference, especially if it can be taken in hours as well as days.
  • Consider a right to return from informal caring.
    The Resolution Foundation have suggested a new right to return to work following periods of absence for informal caring, similar to the rights of those on maternity leave6.
  • Use carers passports.
    Carers passports record agreed informal caring arrangements and can help avoid the need to repeat possibly difficult conversations when moving between jobs.
  • Offer mid-life MOTs.
    Mid-life MOTs help manage transitions such as becoming a carer, by providing an opportunity for conversations about jobs, wellbeing and future finances.
  • Implement communication and training.
    Awareness-raising campaigns can help carers to self-identify and build understanding and empathy.

Join Business in the Community

BITC offers resources, including a carers toolkit, plus advisory support for employers wanting to know how they can best support their employees with caring responsibilities. For Carers Week we have produced Support For Every Carer At Work, a member-only factsheet, which includes examples of best practice from BITC members Aviva, Centrica and Phoenix Group.

We can help you create more a inclusive workplace

References

  1. Business in the Community (2020) Time To Fix-Up: our big chance for business to build back responsibly
  2. Business in the Community (2019) Equal Lives: parenthood and caring in the workplace
  3. Monica Sharma (2021) Government taskforce calls for flexible working for all, HR Review, 4 May
  4. Business in the Community (2019) Equal Lives: parenthood and caring in the workplace
  5. Business in the Community (2021) Route Map to a more gender equal future
  6. The Resolution Foundation (2021) A U-shaped Crisis: the impact of Covid-19 on older workers, 26 April