Missing Work to Look After Relatives

One in three employers say staff are increasingly absent from work because they are caring for elderly relatives or young children, a survey has found.

Dubbed the”sandwich generation”, a large number of people are stuck between ageing parents and looking after growing children.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development says that only one in six companies have policies to help staff who have to leave to provide care.

Dr Jill Miller, from CIPD, said: ‘Supporting those with caring responsibilities to balance their work and and home lives, and therefore retaining our talent, is a key issue.

‘As people have children later, and are looking after parents in the ageing baby boomer generation, they find themselves caring for both their children and their older relatives.’

Of those employers that have flexible working arrangements, around half offer compassionate leave to those needing to care for relatives, while 48 per cent offer specific ‘carers leave’. But critics say the current arrangements do not go far enough.

Emily Holzhausen, a director at Carers UK, said: ‘Some 3million people are juggling work with caring for an older or disabled love one.

‘Without the right policies in the workplace and the support of good quality, flexible and affordable care services, these employees often feel unable to juggle it all, with millions feeling they have no alternative but to give up work to care.’

‘We estimate this costs business £3.5billion a year, with extra costs to the economy and to families in lost earnings and pensions.’

The report published today, states: ‘Overall, just 16 percent of organisations report they have a specific policy or guidelines for supporting employees who are carers (beyond the minimum statutory rights), while a further 37 percent report that decisions are made on an individual basis.’

With news today that the Labour Party have admitted their extra £2.5billion for the NHS will not arrive until 2017, finding a safe pair of hands to lead us to a ‘health and welfare utopia’ is bewildering.

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