Gemma Reucroft, UK & Ireland HR Director, Tunstall Healthcare, explains why.
We are delighted to announce that we have joined Employers for Carers, in order to demonstrate our commitment to supporting our employees who also have caring responsibilities.
According to research undertaken by the Carers Week partnership for the report Prepared to Care?, 34% of carers feel that they have missed out on promotion or development opportunities at work and 60% of carers have taken a reduced income in order to provide that care. It is also believed that around two million people may have had to give up work altogether. For those who do stay in work, carers have a serious risk of developing mental health conditions themselves, and an incredible 92% of carers describe themselves as feeling more stressed as a result of their caring role. Carers may often neglect their own health as they are prioritising the care of someone else and can suffer financial difficulties as a result of caring. These factors may lead to increased sickness absence, reduced productivity and engagement.
These are shocking statistics. At Tunstall, we are committed to ensuring that our employees who are also carers have the same opportunities at work as everyone else, and that we provide them with the flexibility to both meet the demands of being a carer and still have a fulfilling career.
This is an issue all employers should be considering. We are facing an explosion of caring in the decades to come; we have an ageing population, and more than 15 million people in the UK are currently living with a long-term health condition. By the year 2037, it is predicted that nine million people will be providing care. The age profile of these carers suggests that they will be at the peak of their careers when they take on these caring responsibilities. They have valuable skills and experience that employers need to retain. The economic case for supporting carers at work is clear, and for some carers, support from their employer can be a lifeline.
Whether employers are aware of it or not, right now they have carers working for them. Employees need to know that it is okay to tell their employers about their caring responsibilities. Although carers have legal rights, such as the right to request flexible working, there is much more that employers can do, and we will be taking steps to ensure all our carers have the support they need to find a balance between their work and home life.
Find more about Employers for Carers
Gemma Reucroft, UK & Ireland HR Director, Tunstall Healthcare