If services supported carers into work, this could generate £1 billion in taxes. Currently, the programme Working for Carers is supporting carers in London to move towards employment. At the end of June 2022,  1,157 carers and former carers had registered with the project.  So far, 61% of those registered with the project have accessed training, 49% have been supported to job-search, 21% have moved into employment, and 14% have accessed volunteering opportunities. This programme included:

– One-to-one meetings with a dedicated Employment Personal Advisor

– Group activities and training workshops

– Help with job searching

– Support with CVs, job applications and interview techniques

However, Working for Carers will end in June 2023 and there is nothing replacing it so far. Consequently, there is a need for more programmes like Working for Carers to emerge and for employers to support carers into work. Through supporting carers to successfully combine work and caring duties, more carers can be encouraged to go into and stay in employment.

There are often small and inexpensive things employers can do to help ease carer employees’ concerns:

– Allowing carers to leave their mobile phones on in meetings in case of emergencies relating to the individual(s) they are caring for

– Giving caregivers time and access to a phone so they may check in on the person for whom they care while working.

Flexible working can be a good way to help carers juggle their employment with their caring role, flexible working policies can include:

– Flexible start and finish times

– Home working

– Staggered hours

– Flexible holidays

After working for their employer for 26 weeks or more, all employees have the legal right to request flexible working.

Creating a staff carer network, an internal network within your workplace that is set up to support the employees who are also carers, can provide carers with valuable peer support. This may involve:

– A virtual network on your internal network platform

– A group chat on an online communication platform such as teams

Importantly, employers can simply ask what carer employees need to feel supported in their role; engaging in an open discussion may improve understandings and enable long-term solutions to be developed.

Supporting carers in the workplace is beneficial both to the carer and the employer, employers can benefit from:

– Improved productivity – employees who have policies in place to support carers are more likely observe enhanced service delivery and increased productivity

– Reduced turnover – balancing care with work can be burdensome, if employees receive the correct support from employers, they are likely to commit to their job

By Tabitha Desmond

Working for Carers is a London-wide project that supports unpaid carers, aged 25 or over, to move closer to employment. The project is led by Carers Trust and delivered by its network of partners across London. Working for Carers is funded by the European Social Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund.