38% uncomfortable discussing caring responsibilities at work

Emily Holzhausen OBE - Director of Policy - Carers UK

More than a third (38%) of carer respondents that balance care and work are uncomfortable discussing caring in the workplace, according to research by Carers UK.

Its Building carer-friendly communities research, which surveyed 6,149 individuals, including 1,821 carers who have experience of balancing work and caring responsibilities upon which the following figures are based, also found that 35% of respondents do not feel that their employer understands their caring role.

The research also found:

  • 60% of respondents have cut down the hours they work or given up work in order to care.
  • A quarter (25%) of respondents have turned down or been unable to pursue a promotion because of their caring responsibilities.
  • 37% of respondents believe their work has suffered as a result of their caring duties, and 42% struggle financially.
  • 33% say their employer does not have policies in place to support carers.
  • Of those respondents that are not supported by workplace carer policies, 72% have given up work or reduced their hours, 55% struggle financially, and 44% feel their work has suffered.

Emily Holzhausen (pictured), director of policy and public affairs at Carers UK, said: “Despite one in nine people in the UK workforce balancing paid work with caring for a disabled, older or ill family member or friend, caring still remains a relatively hidden issue in many workplaces. Indeed, high numbers of carers told us that they don’t feel comfortable talking about their caring role at work and that their managers and colleagues don’t understand their caring responsibilities.

“There are a number of ways that employers can improve the way they support carers in the workplace. An understanding manager, flexible-working policies, and workplace carers’ networks that offer peer support all have a vital role to play in supporting carers in employment.

“As our population ages, growing numbers of people will be juggling work and care. This is an issue that employers can’t afford ignore.”

The research has been published to mark Carers Week 2016, which runs from 6-12 June.