Supporting employees on National Carers’ Day | Incentive&Motivation

Health And Wellbeing News: Supporting employees on National Carers’ Day

With National Carers’ Day taking place on Friday 24 November, now is a good time for employers to take a closer look at ways in which they can best support employees who are also carers, to help them strike a balance between being productive at work and managing their caring responsibilities.

It’s a wise choice too.

If you are looking after someone who is older or has disabilities you are protected under the Equality Act 2010 against direct discrimination or harassment because of your caring responsibilities. This is because you are counted as being ‘associated’ with someone who is protected by the law because of their age or disability.

Direct discrimination is where you are treated less favourably than someone else because you are caring for an elderly or disabled person. This could include your employer:

  • refusing to offer you a job because of your caring responsibilities
  • treating you less favourably because of your caring responsibilities

Flexible hours for carers

Statutory rights enable all employees to take a ‘reasonable’ amount of time off work to deal with an emergency or an unforeseen matter involving a dependent. In addition, all employees have a right to request flexible working (such as part-time, home working, job sharing and flexitime) after they have worked for the same employer for 26 weeks, providing they haven’t already made a flexible working request within the last 12 months.

Contractual rights are offered by employers in addition to statutory rights and can be set out in a company’s own carer’s policy. This could include offering carers flexible leave, being flexible when carers need to leave at short notice and allowing carers to work flexibly.

Laura Davis, Managing Director of Hampshire-based HR Consultancy, said: “There are over three million working carers in the UK and they have special rights to help them juggle both their work and caring responsibilities. Everyone in employment is entitled to statutory rights, whereas contractual rights are given at the discretion of the employer. People managers are essential to making a carer’s policy work and are also likely to have an impact on a carer’s ability to balance the demands of work and care, so training them to adopt an understanding attitude and what support you are able to offer carers will go a long way to gaining trust in the workplace”.

If you need support to create an ongoing Carer’s Policy for your organisation, please give Reality HR a call on 01256 328428,

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