One in five employees aged 45 and over expect to have to leave their job to care for an adult relative, according to research conducted by the pension provider, Aviva.
This equates to approximately 2.6 million employees who will have to make some sort of financial sacrifice in terms of loss of salary, pension and savings so they can take on caring responsibilities. The Aviva research also found that 20% of mid-life women were likely to leave their job to provide care, compared with 17% of men in the same age bracket. Mid-life carers face significant pressures with many caring for both an older relative as well as young children.
Worryingly, despite the large numbers of mid-life workers expecting to have to leave their job to care for a relative, just 6% of employers considered caring pressures as a significant issue faced by their employees.
The findings were provided by an Aviva survey of 2,000 UK employees.
An ageing population, and pressure on health and social care budgets, means that more and more people in the UK are becoming unpaid carers. The value of care provided by unpaid carers in the UK has been calculated as £132 billion per annum, equivalent to the value of a second NHS. Yet despite the UK’s rising number of unpaid carers, successive governments have failed to prioritise investing in long-term and sustainable funding for social care.
Responding to the Aviva research findings, Head of Policy at Carers Trust, Laura Bennett, said:
“Carers Trust offers its employees up to five days paid carers’ leave a year, as well as flexible working options. Combined with other support, this helps employees balance work and caring for as long as they want to. These sorts of policies need to become as normal as the ones offered to employees who have parenting responsibilities.
“It can seem hard to start the conversation, but talking to those we love about money, wills, Powers of Attorney and future care options before a crisis, can really help.
“Carers Trust has repeatedly called on successive governments to invest in the long-term and sustainable social care funding that the country needs. This would help many carers stay in work, and protect their future finances.”