Carers in Paid Employment – What we are doing to help
In our last edition of ‘Keeping in Touch’, many of you will have read about recent funding we have received from Herefordshire Councils’ ‘Well-being Innovation Fund’. We are delighted to have secured this as it will enable us to focus on what is currently a very hot topic both nationally and locally.
The aims of the project are several, including providing support and advice to Carers who may have given up work, wish to work for the first time or are seeking a new direction that will fit in around their caring role.
We will be looking at training and employment opportunities and helping Carers to identify and utilise skills that they may already possess. All of us learn, sometimes without even realising it from our caring responsibilities, running a home, being a parent and of course many will have worked previously, either voluntary or paid, gaining valuable experience as we go.
We are also committed to helping those Carers that are employed and finding that juggling their paid work and caring role, along with all the other demands of a busy life is at times, overwhelming. We are reaching out to employers across the County to talk with them about what policies they have in place and how we can improve on them where necessary to make life easier for Carers on their payroll.
We are now working successfully with Hoople, one of Herefordshire’s largest employers to promote awareness of Carers in paid employment and to encourage Carers to seek support and advice sooner rather than later. Hoople already have good policies in place, for example, they can offer flexible working arrangements to Carers where possible. However, they are keen to build on their good practice and will be referencing Carers in their future induction programmes, offering regular information and advice, available via their monthly online team briefings. We also plan to work with Hoople in the future at dedicated health and well-being events held at their offices in Plough Lane. This is all very encouraging and demonstrates that there are definitely employers who are really keen to get on board.
Most companies and organisations understand that engaging with staff, in this case, Carers and promoting well-being is guaranteed to reduce common business problems such as stress, sick leave and absenteeism whilst increasing staff morale and productivity. Having invested in training for their employees, it does not make economic sense to lose those skilled staff and so more and more companies are on the look-out for ways to retain their staff.
If you are struggling with the challenges of work life and your caring commitments, you are certainly not alone but we are aware that for a wide variety of reasons, some Carers are reluctant to seek help. By opening up the discussion and looking for ways that employers can help, we hope to dispel these concerns. Employers have to comply with legislation, but many are willing to provide much more, from simple things which can make a huge difference, such as access to a telephone during working hours or car parking close to place of work. Some are able to go even further and provide Employee Assistance Programmes or in times of crisis may offer paid or unpaid leave. To find out what your employer can offer, talk to your Line Manager, HR/Personnel Officer or union or staff association representative. Remember that employers value experienced, skilled and committed staff members and will be keen to assist in order to keep them.
If you’d like to find out more about ways we can help, please contact Chrissy on 01432 356068.
Support for carers at work (Carers Trust)
Making sure your employees have a good work and life balance can benefit your business
There are around seven million carers in the UK – that is one in ten people. You are very likely to have carers working for you already, whether they have told you or not.
Why should you care about carers?
Recognising that there are carers in your workforce, and supporting them to manage their caring responsibilities and work can:
- reduce stress and improve job performance
- improve job satisfaction
- improve commitment to the organisation
- decrease staff turnover.
Find out more about how you can support carers in your workforce on our Professionals website Carers in the Workforce.
Herefordshire Carers Support offer carers employment, education and training support. Get in touch with us to see how you could support carers that work for you.
ACAS offer training on flexible working, as well as providing comprehensive guidance. Find out more about The right to flexible working on the ACAS website. You can call the ACAS helpline on 0300 123 1100 for free support and advice. They also offer help online.