In January this year global marketing firm M&C Saatchi introduced a programme of support for the carers among its workforce, including young adults.
The organisation employs around 700 people in the UK and has partnered with childcare provider Bright Horizons to deliver the initiative nationwide.
Annabel Mackie, managing partner at M&C Saatchi, says: “This wasn’t something that people had specifically asked for, but we felt that it was important to be supporting our talent with caring responsibilities.”
Through the programme parents or carers have access to up to 10 free emergency care days, as well as replacement care for their children or an adult they care for in the event that their usual provider is unavailable for any reason.
The employer has also changed compassionate leave to exceptional leave to cover emergency situations.
Communication of the various care support options can also be tailored to the different needs of carers, signposting them to relevant support services such as eldercare or childcare.
“We have rolled out a variety of communications to all our staff, from in-person meetings to email communications, outlining the different ways people can be supported,” says Mackie.
“They are also reminded to reach out in their moment of need to either their line manager or the people team who are best placed to point them to the different options available to them.”
Given that employees of any age, including younger members of staff, can become carers quite suddenly, it is crucial for employers to provide them with the right support, says Mackie.
“We believe that it helps their mental health, enables them to navigate the practicalities that they are having to deal with, and, ultimately, allows them to continue in their roles in a positive way,” she explains.