Why supporting staff with caring responsibilities during COVID-19 is vital to your organisation
This year has seen a dramatic boost in the numbers of carers in Scotland, increasing by almost 400,000 to an estimated 1.1 million since the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic. This issue is particularly relevant to Scottish employers as 58% of these new carers juggle paid employment with their caring responsibilities.
As the world of work continues to take on a new and changing shape, it is vital that employers recognise the challenges that carers face. Research earlier this year by the CIPD and Sheffield University highlighted the plight of working carers, showing that a quarter of workers with caring responsibilities have considered giving up their job due to the struggle of balancing their caring role without employer support.
How can Carer Positive help?
Carer Positive is a nationally recognised employer award, launched by the Scottish Government and delivered by Carers Scotland. Free to participate in, it is a flexible initiative, designed to work for organisations of all sizes and sectors. We help employers create a supportive working environment for carers, providing advice, resources and networking events.
Employers can apply for our Carer Positive Award and we can help strengthen and develop a culture of support within their organisation, which tends to have a positive effect on the wellbeing and resilience of all staff.
Over 200 employers are currently recognised as Carer Positive Employers, including: local authorities; health boards; public bodies; education institutions; voluntary sector organisations and private companies.
The Phoenix Group is one of our Exemplary Carer Positive Employers, and at the forefront of organisations recognising the importance of this agenda. Their award demonstrates the support the Group provides for employees who are carers, through a combination of practical support and policy, awareness raising, training and an active Carers Network.
Accepting the award earlier this year, Stephen Jefford, Group HR Director and Executive Sponsor of the Carers Network at Phoenix Group said: “We recognise that many colleagues will have a caring commitment at some point in their working lives. We want to ensure we support them in balancing their caring responsibilities alongside their career. We’re delighted to be recognised as a Carer Positive employer in Scotland and believe that an appropriately thoughtful workplace helps colleagues remain committed and engaged through times of enduring challenge.”
Workplaces are changing and we urge employers to seize the opportunity to look at how their policies and practice supports staff with caring responsibilities. Home working and greater flexibility is being embraced across the country, with online communication platforms providing tools to more easily provide the right kind of support, benefiting organisations now and far beyond the current Covid-19 pandemic.
The Carer Positive Award scheme is recommended within the Scottish Business Pledge and linked in the Scottish Government’s recent ‘Coronavirus (Covid-19) Guidance for Homeworking’.
We encourage all interested organisations to visit our website – www.carerpositive.org – for more information and get in touch to find out how you can become a Carer Positive Employer.