Today is Carers Rights Day, so it’s the perfect time to champion carers’ rights in the workplace. Carers make up 1 in 7 of our workforce, but It’s a topic that isn’t at the forefront of people’s minds. The NHS defines carers as follows:
In the UK there are around 5 million carers who juggle caring responsibilities with work. They also contribute £132 billion a year to the economy, which means carers are clearly valuable to organisations. The purpose of Carers Rights Day is to:
This ties into your overall diversity and inclusion efforts. Having an inclusive workplace means a happy working environment where employees feel safe. We can also prove that having a truly inclusive organisation will make your business more successful.
Rights related to caring come from two sources. The law gives statutory rights to everyone, but there might be extra contractual rights. Statutory rights are easier to assess as everyone has them.
Statutory rights related to carers are as follows:
This can help to reduce pressure at work and gives carers a better work-life balance.
This lets carers have the same access to opportunities and progression within the workplace as those with no caring responsibilities.
This allows employees to fulfil their caring responsibilities without fear or repercussions within their job.
Those with caring responsibilities have a more complex experience compared to other employees. Carers are holding families together, enabling loved ones to get the most out of life and making an enormous contribution to society. It’s a hugely important and highly significant part of their life.
Knowing what carers’ rights are is the first piece to the puzzle. The next step is evaluating what your organisation is doing to support employees with caring responsibilities.
Provide employees with opportunities to structure their working day in a way that allows them to fulfil their caring responsibilities outside of work. This helps to alleviate the pressures of work and provides a better work-life balance.
2. Train line managers
Provide training for line managers on how to support carers and have an understanding attitude. This lets them deal with any issues effectively and appropriately.
3. Create a network of support
This can be in the form of a panel discussion, internal communications or training. Actively engage with employees to discuss the support your organisation has in place for working carers. The support is more likely to be used when you’re encouraging and emphasising it.
4. Engage with outside organisations that support carers
Use forums like Employers for Carers so you can get practical guidance, resources and support. Share contact details for external organisations so carers have someone to turn to for confidential support and guidance outside of the workplace.
5. Show your support for young carers
The Carers Trust reports that there are 700,000 young carers in the UK. If you’ve got work experience programmes, look for schools where you can run sessions about CV and employability skills. This helps young carers realise their potential whilst fulfilling their care responsibilities.
6. Use a diversity and inclusion survey to get honest feedback
We have a research-based employee engagement survey that deals specifically with D&I. It lets you get quick, honest feedback using free text answers. We then analyse them almost instantly with natural language processing to understand how your people feel. It’s the fastest way to assess equality at work, diversity in the workplace and how inclusive your culture is. We can also link it to business performance, because we’ve shown that improving diversity will lead to a stronger organisation.
Further reading and references: