Carers in the Workplace
Because anyone can become a carer, at any time and at any age, you may may not know which of your employees has caring responsibilities. But it’s easy to be prepared.
Tiredness, irritability, poor attendance or low productivity may be the first signs that something is wrong with a colleague. But there’s a few simple things an employer can do.
Become a carer-friendly company
Feedback from carers organisations suggest three things a carer-friendly company is likely to do:
- Make it easy to talk about caring responsibilities at work and to ask for support
- Have clear policies in place to support carers, such as care leave, flexible working policies, a carers’ staff network or an employee assistance programme
- Be able to explain rights to request flexible working and take emergency time off to care for dependents when needed.
The specific employment law rights for carers at work are explained on the NHS Choices website and cover:
- Right to request flexible working
- Time off for dependants
- Unpaid parental leave
- Annual leave and pay
NHS Employers has published their policies online for reference and Carer Positive has published best practice for employers for employers who choose to provide additional support above and beyond the legal minimum requirements.
Don’t forget that many carers not ony need to work for financial reasons, work is vital for good mental, social and physical wellbeing.