Carers Week News

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Employers stand up to be counted in Carers Week - the new Employers for Carers service now covers half a million employees.

Employers for Carers, the new membership forum for employers seeking to support the 1 in 7 carers in their workforce, recognised Carers Week 2009 with an 'Equality for Carers' event held at BT Centre in London on Tuesday 9th June. Trevor Phillips, Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, and Caroline Waters, Director of People and Policy for BT Group and Chair of Employers for Carers, were two of the speakers highlighting the importance of supporting working carers, particularly at a time of recession.

Many of the 3 million working carers in the UK are struggling to combine work with caring for ill, frail or disabled friends or family members, with 1 in 5 giving up work to care. People are also most likely to be caring when aged 45-64, just when they may also be at their greatest level of skills and experience in the workplace.

Caroline Waters, Director of People and Policy for BT and Chair of Employers for Carers says:

"The current situation is quite simply unacceptable to the British economy and to hard-pressed working families. With an ageing population and increasing pressures on our care services, the situation is likely to get worse.

That is why forward thinking employers are keen to address this agenda and lead by example. Launched in January, chaired by BT and supported by the specialist knowledge of Carers UK, Employers for Carers now has over 30 member organisations representing half a million employees.

We have come together as employers who believe that supporting carers is good business. By working smarter, and offering real opportunities for people to transform the way they work, our members have seen how they can reduce costs and improve productivity as well as help to retain their most skilled staff at a time they can least afford to lose them.

Accommodating carers isn't difficult, disruptive or expensive, it's just plain business sense – a small change in working hours or flexible arrangements can make all the difference both to the workforce and to the business."