In Worcestershire, there are an estimated 63,500+ adult, unpaid carers (census 2011) and this figure is growing. Worcestershire Association of Carers is a local, county-based charity whose mission it is to ensure that carers are supported in their roles. In February 2019, Carers UK produced a report on the impact of working on carers and the statistics are shocking. It shows that since 2013, 1 in 7 working age people are in a caring role and of those, 12% more people than ever before have had to give up work. That equates to a staggering 2.6 million people who, due to the impact of caring have had to give up their roles and move to reduced pay or benefits.
One of the reasons that carers have to give up work is due to the lack of support in the workplace. There are stark warnings for employers, in terms of staff recruitment, retention costs and unmeasured health costs. The report highlights that supportive and understanding employers, flexible working policies and the right to additional paid time off were ranked as being the most important factors to working carers.
Worcestershire Association of Carers has been working with local employers to emphasise both the employee and business benefits of supporting carers and are pleased that they now have a strong foundation to say that Worcestershire is well on its way to being committed to working carers. Some fantastic organisations have signed up to the Working for Carers initiative offered by the charity, which supports employers, to identify, recognise, and support working carers in Worcestershire. They are delighted to report that Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce, University of Worcester, Hewett Recruitment, Southco, Roots HR, YSS, Advanced Trust, BDHT, Young Solutions, Simply Limitless, Carers Careline, Onside advocacy and Roundabout are amongst those organisations dedicated to paving a stronger future for the changing workforce of tomorrow.
If, as an employer, you are interested in signing up to the Working for Carers membership scheme you will receive training and advice for employers, help to support and retain staff members with caring responsibilities alongside an enhanced reputation locally.