13% offer line manager training to support working carers

Claire McCartney

Just 13% of employer respondents offer line manager training to support working carers, according to research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and Westfield Health.

The research, which is based on a survey of 554 senior HR professionals and focus groups with working carers, also found that around a third (34%) of employer respondents have a formal, informal or written policy in place to support employees with caring responsibilities.

The research also found:

  • 38% of employer respondents do not have any policies in place to support working carers.
  • Just one in ten (11%) private sector employer respondents provide line manager training to support working carers, and 18% have a formal or written support policy in place.
  • 20% of employer respondents in the private sector know how many working carers they employ.
  • Two-thirds (66%) of employer respondents that have a policy in place to support working carers believe this makes a positive difference to their organisation’s culture.
  • 65% of employer respondents support working carers because they believe it is the right thing to do, 60% do so because it improves work-like balance, and 58% do so because it enhances employee morale and engagement.
  • More than half (53%) of employer respondents that support working carers cite improved employee retention as a key reason to do so, and 50% believe it reduces absenteeism.

Claire McCartney (pictured), research adviser, resourcing and talent planning at the CIPD, said: “We can see that many employers understand the business case for supporting working carers, and how it can positively impact retention, engagement and reduce absenteeism, all of which will bring big business benefits in the long term.

“Employers need to see working carers as an opportunity, rather than a challenge, and listening to and understanding what they need from their employer is important. Although official policies for working carers will help to legitimise their place in the labour market, they need not be prescriptive and should focus on empowering individuals.”

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David Capper, executive director, commercial at Westfield Health, added: “More than three million workers in the UK are providing informal care to older parents or dependents, and this figure is expected to rise, as many more employees are likely to find themselves in the ‘sandwich generation’, balancing working commitment with caring for older family members and looking after their own children.

“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.”