Here we provide Managers with information on good practice and how to support carers and parents within the workplace. Parents, and other people who combine work with caring for dependents, have some specific rights protected by law and this document has used Good Practice principles from ACAS (http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=1362).
As a Manager you have your own caring responsibilities that may impact upon your own ability to be in work and it is important that you are able to seek the support and advice you need. The information within this document may also be useful for you to consider within your own situation, so that you can determine what is right for you. It would also be important to consider talking to your HR department, your line manager or contacting you Employee Assistance Programme for advice and support throughout. The signposting information within this document will be relevant for you as a Manager supporting your teams and also for you as an individual.
What you need to know:
Most people’s lives will include at least one episode of caring. Already 1 in 9 in your workforce will be caring for someone who is older, disabled or seriously ill. But with the number of carers in the UK set to rise from 6 million to 9 million over the next 30 years, the proportion of carers in your workforce is also likely to increase significantly.
Already 90% of working carers are aged 30 plus – employees in their prime employment years. The peak age for caring is also 45-64 when many employees will have gained valuable skills and experience. With fewer young people entering the job market – and in the current economic climate – there has never been a more important time to focus on the benefits of retaining skilled workers rather than incurring the costs of recruiting and retraining new staff.
If your employee has caring responsibilities for children, elderly relatives or dependents they are able to apply for flexible working and they are entitled to time off for dependents to deal with unforeseen circumstances.
For parents, they are also able to request flexible working and entitled to time off for dependents.
How to support employees:
It will be important to recognise that employees who have dependents may not initially tell you about their situation. Make sure you keep communication open and have regular meetings where:
There is a private and confidential space for the employee to tell you about their situation.
Give them support and advise on your orgasnistion policies on flexible working.
Be empathic in regards to the demands they may be struggling with.
Advise them to contact their EAP for support and assistance.
Agree regular meetings or points of contacts
Consider flexible working arrangements.