More than three million people in the UK juggle paid employment with unpaid caring responsibilities – thatâ€™s equivalent to one in ten employees.
Unfortunately, most employers struggle to understand the emotional and practical challenges of caring for a relative, partner or friend that, due to disability, mental health or substance misuse, requires around the clock assistance.
With one in six carers giving up work due to lack of flexibility and understanding from their employer, we are urging business owners across Lancashire to take action and ensure these individuals are better supported in the workplace.
Accommodating carers isnâ€™t difficult, disruptive or expensive. Small strategic changes such as flexible working provisions, paid emergency leave and access to referral services not only enhance a carerâ€™s work / life balance but have been proven to increase productivity, reduce overheads and improve staff retention.
More often than not, carers try and cope alone, refusing any help until they reach breaking point. For example, studies show that carers are most likely to attend work when sick, which shows the huge amount of pressure faced by this group.
Encouraging carers to talk about their situation by establishing open lines of communication in the workplace will help to spot issues early and develop suitable solutions that ease the burden.
According to research, a high percentage of carers have reported that their caring responsibilities have prevented them from accepting a full-time position. As the labour market gathers pace, implementing these changes will also help to retain talented staff members â€“ something which can prove crucial when the average cost of replacing an employee is around Â£30,000.
Implementing simple changes not only support existing staff members but attract other skilled employees with caring commitments.
Businesses in Lancashire should be proud to employ carers and we hope they follow our lead in recognising this growing issue.
©2015 Community Life Choices