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Acas urges businesses to help employees who juggle work and caring responsibilities

Acas report that three million people in the United Kingdom are juggling work with caring responsibilities. The employment relations specialists, is urging employers to help carers within their companies or organisations ahead of Carers week which started on the 9th June.

The theme for Carers week is 'Carers can't afford to be ill'. Many Carers are often too pre-occupied or worried about the person they care for to look after their own wellbeing, and if they become ill they are not only unable to look after their dependent but also cannot go to work.

Gill Trevelyan,Head of Training and Equality Services at Acas comments : "Employers should be aware of anyone in their organisation who has caring responsibilities and make sure they are familiar with the regulations and any company policies that apply to carers.

"Often carers try and cope alone and don't seek help until it gets too much. We would advise employers to speak to carers within their organisation to see if there are ways they can help them resolve any challenges they may be having balancing work and caring responsibilities. This will not only ease the burden for the carer but in the long-run can benefit businesses by reducing absence."

Parents with children under the age of six or disabled children under the age of eighteen, have the right to apply to their employer to work more flexibly, and this also applies to the carers of adults. So if you are a business or organization with employees who are also carer's what should you do? Acas suggests this five-point action plan:

  • Knowledge– know where you stand as an employer - find out about the regulations that apply to carers and review your company policies
  • Listen – to the situation from the employee's perspective. This will help you to understand their circumstances and recognise what pressure they are under from their caring responsibilities
  • Talk – discuss the options not only with the employee but also their colleagues and consider what changes to their work pattern i.e. introducing flexible working, may have on their colleagues and the business as a whole
  • Be objective – if considering an application or multiple applications for carers to request flexible working it is important to remain objective and not let emotions cloud your judgement
  • Take action– this may involve accepting a request for flexible working, discussing a compromise or rejecting the request. If the request is rejected it is important to set out clear business reasons for the rejection.

Ends

Posted by Asif Yusuf

Publisher of Diversity Link

 

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