Are employers doing enough to support employees who have caring responsibilities?

According to a report published on 5 February 2019 by Carers UK, we may still have some way to go to help support those who are trying to juggle work whilst also caring for their older and disabled relatives. 

The report, “Juggling work and unpaid care: a growing issue”, highlights that this is becoming a significant problem of our time and one that is affecting more and more families in the UK in their everyday lives.

The key findings, based on a poll carried out by YouGov plc, contain some staggering statistics:

  • more than 600 people quit work to look after older and disabled relatives every day;
  • one in seven of the UK workforce is caring for a loved one; and
  • 7 per cent said that unpaid caring had negatively impacted on their paid work.

When asked what interventions would be most helpful if they were caring alongside work:

  • 89 per cent of those polled said a supportive line manager/employer;
  • 88 per cent said flexible working; and
  • 89 per cent said additional paid care leave of between five and 10 days.

Currently, there is no legal right to paid “carers’ leave” in the UK.  Employees who have caring responsibilities can make a flexible working request which, if granted, may help alleviate the pressures of trying to juggle both work and their caring responsibilities.  Employees also have the right to take time off for dependants to deal with unforeseen, emergency situations. 

The Carers UK report indicates that this may not be enough and suggests that, amongst other initiatives, the government should introduce a new right to paid care leave to try to address this growing issue.

Subscribe and stay updated
Receive our latest blog posts by email.
Laura Morrison

About Laura Morrison

Laura has more than 13 years' experience as an employment lawyer. Over that time, she has advised clients from a range of industries, including financial services, food and drink, logistics, manufacturing and education. She advised clients on the management of day-to-day HR issues as well as providing strategic advice on organizational change and business transfers. She regularly appeared in the Employment Tribunal across the UK and represented clients in claims such as automatically unfair dismissal on the grounds of making protected disclosures, disability discrimination and sex discrimination.

Full bio