A report issued by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development found that 72% of carers in the UK are providing care in addition to full-time paid work.

In response to this enormous number, the Carers’ Leave Act was laid before Parliament at the latter end of 2023, and from April 6th 2024, it will officially go into effect. So, what does this mean for employers?

The new Carers’ Leave Act will most notably introduce an entitlement to one week’s unpaid leave for employees with caring responsibilities. These can be taken as full or half days, and this leave will be a day-one right – that is, employees will have the right to request this leave from their first day of employment.

For employees to request this flexible leave, they will need to offer advance notice that is at least twice the length of the time being requested as leave, plus one day (for example, if an employee requests two days off, they need to make this request at least five working days prior).

There will be a variety of factors and criterion that have to be considered in order for a worker to qualify for this leave (are they a primary carer? Who is the dependant? Does the dependant have a long-term care need?). The finer details of the Carers’ Leave Act can be found here for employers to review.

This new Act is being introduced in order to highlight the need for employers to begin supporting those employees who double as working carers. Previously, a working carer was expected to use other kinds of leave in order to care for a loved one who was in need of care, such as flexible working arrangements or annual leave, but now this Act provides the entitlement to specific leave dedicated to these caring needs.

Therefore, employers should be ensuring that, before April 6th, they are updating or creating new policies that reflect this new legislation. They should also be communicating to their teams how to go about requesting this leave and what criteria has to be met to be entitled to it. Employers may also decide whether or not they want to offer this leave as paid leave either in full or in part, or whether it will be a week of unpaid leave.

At OrgShakers, we have always been passionate about the support of unpaid carers in the workplace, as those employers who can successfully recognize and support these workers are going to be in the best position to optimize their productivity. If you would like to discuss how we can help support your business in creating working carers policies, please get in touch with us.

In a move that underscores the evolving landscape of workplace benefits, the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) has recently unveiled a groundbreaking parental leave policy. Effective from 1 July 2024, this policy not only represents a significant step forward in the realm of employee benefits, but also marks an important shift in the paradigm for Human Resources (HR) management worldwide. Understanding this shift is crucial for firms aiming to stay ahead in the competitive global market.

LSEG’s new policy offers an impressive 26 weeks of fully paid leave to all employees with more than 12 months’ service who are welcoming a child into their family. This is irrespective of the parent’s gender, how they become a parent, or their location, ensuring equal opportunity for all LSEG parents to engage in child caregiving. This initiative is a substantial leap towards achieving true Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in the workplace, setting a global benchmark that other organizations are likely to follow.

Why does this matter for HR?

            1.         Attracting and Retaining Talent: In today’s job market, where competition for top talent is fiercer than ever, benefits like LSEG’s parental leave policy can be a significant differentiator. By offering such forward-thinking benefits, companies can attract a more diverse talent pool and retain employees who value family-friendly workplace policies.

            2.         Promoting Gender Equality: Traditional parental leave policies often reinforce gender stereotypes by assuming primary caregiving roles for one gender over the other. LSEG’s gender-neutral policy challenges these norms, promoting a more inclusive environment that supports and encourages shared parental responsibilities.

            3.         Supporting Work-Life Balance: The addition of an eight-week phased return to work, with employees working 80% of their normal hours at full pay, acknowledges the challenges of balancing professional and personal responsibilities. This approach can lead to healthier, more productive employees.

            4.         Enhanced Support for Neonatal Care: Recognizing the additional challenges faced by families with children requiring neonatal care, LSEG’s enhanced leave policy provides critical support during difficult times. This consideration reflects a deeper understanding of employee needs and a commitment to supporting them through life’s challenges.

LSEG’s policy is more than just a generous employee benefit; it is a statement on the importance of nurturing an inclusive, supportive, and equitable workplace culture. For HR professionals, it serves as a clear indicator of the shifting expectations towards employee welfare and the role of organizations in facilitating this. As firms navigate the complexities of the modern workforce, adapting to these shifts is not just beneficial but essential for sustainable growth and success.

For HR professionals and firms worldwide, this new global parental leave policy highlights the importance of re-evaluating traditional policies and practices to align with the evolving expectations of the workforce. As we move forward, embracing such paradigm shifts in HR will be pivotal in building more resilient, inclusive, and competitive organizations. If you would like to discuss how we can help you with your policy creation, please get in touch with us.

New research by MetLife has revealed that, besides health, one in five parents’ (18%) biggest concern was taking time off work when their child was taken into hospital.

Of those who had had a child in hospital, one in seven (15 per cent) said they did not get paid by their employer, according to the Censuswide survey of 2,503 parents with at least one child under the age of 23. 

When having to attend to having a child in hospital, the last thing employees want to be worrying about is financial stability and job security. Feeling like you must choose between your child and your job can build resentment towards your employer and lead to disengagement, so having support measures in place for workers that are also carers is an imperative for organizations.

Read the full piece here: https://www.peoplemanagement.co.uk/article/1856427/one-five-parents-fear-taking-time-off-when-child-hospital-%E2%80%93-employers-offer-better-support

According to research from Carers UK, it is estimated that 40% of carers gave up work to provide unpaid care, while 22% reduced their working hours.

Nearly half (49%) of these caregivers who had given up work or reduced their hours saw their monthly income reduce by over £1,000.

There are around 2 million employees who are delivering unpaid care according to the Office for National Statistics, and the workforce is losing them in their thousands due to a lack of flexible working policies and the unavailability of carers leave.

Read the full piece here: https://www.hrmagazine.co.uk/content/news/thousands-of-unpaid-carers-leaving-the-workplace/

Many workers are leading a double life that employers may not even know about.

Harvard Business School Professor Joseph Fuller conducted research which found that 73% of all American employees have some type of caregiving responsibility alongside their ‘day job’. However, due to a lack of support, benefits, and policies, this has resulted in US businesses losing $35 billion annually from failing to attract, support, and retain these working carers.  

And the data for the UK paints a similar picture; a report issued by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development found that 72% of carers in the UK are providing care in addition to full-time paid work. And 28% of these full-time workers are supplying at least 30 hours of care a week – that’s 700,000 people working over 75 hours a week!

These double lives are causing these working carers to experience difficulty concentrating at work, as well as 36% of them refusing job offers and promotions – or just not applying for a job in the first place – because of their caring responsibilities.

It is clear from this that if employers know how to better support those employees who are doubling as carers, they can help increase attraction, retention, and overall engagement. So, what can companies be doing to optimize these team members?

  • Encourage employees to identify themselves as carers – this starts from a cultural perspective. Ensuring that, as leaders, you are building a culture of honesty and openness that invites your staff to confide and seek support. As well as this, formally acknowledge that as an employer you are aware of this and actively want to help, so that employees can come to you privately to discuss what assistance they may need.
  • Be flexible – with some workers essentially working a second full-time job with their caring duties, it is important to be as flexible and understanding to their time as possible. Scheduling meetings around potential appointments and offering ‘carers leave’ are great examples of how you can optimize your working carers and ensure that the time they can put in will be 100% focused. This will lead to higher engagement and stronger output overall.
  • Training line-managers – having line-managers undergo a training course/workshop to be able to gain a deeper understanding of how they can recognise and support working carers on their teams. If employees know that their managers are well-versed in this area, they will feel much more inclined to confide in them and seek assistance.
  • Mental health support – being a full-time worker and a part- or full-time carer can take its toll on anyone. As caring can sometimes be a sensitive topic, it’s not surprising that it may have an effect on the caregiver’s mental wellbeing. Making sure these employees know what mental health support is available to them, either in-house or externally, is a great way of demonstrating support.  

By striving to create policies and offer benefits that can help ease the weight of being a working carer, employers are able to get the best out of their employees while also helping to eradicate the taboo around caregiving.

To discuss the workshops, training, and policy crafting services that we can offer you, please get in touch with me at andy@orgshakers.com

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