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07 Jun 2024

The working/care juggle - how employers can provide support

There’s an opportunity for businesses to step in with innovative insurance and protection benefits to keep employees in the workforce

Ways employers can support employees with unpaid caring roles.jpg 1


Millions of people juggle unpaid caring responsibilities with paid employment each year - which is why inclusive benefits are more necessary than ever

With people living longer, more employees are caring for older or seriously ill relatives while continuing to work harder than ever.

According to Carers UK’s State of Caring 2023 survey:

  • There are two million employees balancing caring responsibilities around their work in the UK
  • As many as two in five (40%) employees with unpaid caring duties quit their jobs
  • Another 22% reduce their working hours because of their caring role
  • Many working carers are caring for a loved one for more than 50 hours a week

The need for employers to understand the challenges working carers face is critical, with access to reliable benefits, service and resources becoming increasingly vital.

To show support, employers have an opportunity to step in with innovative insurance and protection benefits to keep employees in the workforce.

Group protection

Employers can offer group protection products and employee assistance programmes (EAPs) offering lifestyle advice and clinical support, such as confidential counselling.

By working with an insurance provider, you can source a policy that provides the types of support that will benefit the carers among your staff.

For example, group income protection policies can offer eldercare support services, which include bereavement counselling, personal debt management, help with arranging a Power of Attorney — all of which help working carers and their elderly loved ones.

Telehealth and private healthcare services can be embedded into protection coverages too. Income protection insurers can offer mental health and physiotherapy triage and specialist healthcare services for policyholders, which could be extended to loved ones.

Feeling the strain

Full-time working carers feel the strain on both their mental and physical health.

Having mental health first aiders on-hand to encourage employees to open up and seek support is vitally important for working carers.

With an ageing population and workforce, mid-life MOTs are a great way to support working carers and fellow employees to stay in the workforce and continue to progress their careers.

The mid-life MOT can help reinforce skills, financial security, wellbeing and retirement planning among the workforce, helping employees make informed choices. With the right support, employees can navigate the transitions and challenges of mid-life and remain in work.

To help the working carers within your organisation, it’s important to understand that not every carer’s experience is the same, which is why working with a specific provider who can tailor offerings is important.

Visibility for carers

June 2024 marks 10 years since the launch of the Carer Positive Employer Awards scheme in Scotland.

The Carer Positive initiative has worked with and awarded more than 265 organisations in Scotland with Carer Positive Employer recognition. Almost half a million employees are represented within these workplaces, benefitting from workplace cultures and practices that value and support staff with caring responsibilities.

Similarly, since its launch in 2009, Employers for Carers (EfC) has more than 230 member organisations across public, private and voluntary sectors. The group ensures employers have the support to retain and manage employees with caring responsibilities – and with one in seven employees in each workplace being carers, the EfC is a valuable offering.

A ground-breaking year

This year will be ground-breaking for working carers. The Carer’s Leave Act came into action on 6 April 6 2024, giving working carers statutory entitlement to at least five days unpaid carer’s leave each year.

As an employer, you can help employees apply for financial assistance, including Carers Allowance, which can help working carers cover costs such as medical expenses, transport or specialised equipment.

UK workers will also have the right to request flexible working twice in a 12-month period, through the Flexible Working Act, giving working carers the opportunity to work around their caring responsibilities.

Meanwhile, employers that have incorporated the Carer Passport Scheme have made working carers feel recognised. The scheme provides a way to discuss and document the flexibility and support your business can offer employees who are combining caring duties with work responsibilities.

Working carers need the support of employers to undertake both the professional and personal roles in their life to the best of their ability. By incorporating innovative schemes and benefit offerings, your organisation will reap the rewards of a valued workforce.

In partnership with KareHero

The UK’s No1 adult caregiving support service' for employees. Helping families understand, find and fund elderly care.

Contact us today