The government has unveiled a series of employment law reforms aimed at boosting the economy and reducing costs for businesses. The measures include changes to the Working Time Regulations 1998, the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations (TUPE), and non-compete clauses. The measures are set out in the policy paper ‘Smarter Regulation to Grow
Carers at Work
There are 5 million people in the UK who combine work with care responsibilities for family members and loved ones. Carers UK estimates that 1 in 7 of the UK’s working population has caring responsibilities.
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This is set to rise significantly due an ageing population and barriers to accessing financial help with care. 1 in 5 adults has seen their work impacted as a result of their caring obligations, especially those aged 45 to 64.
Juggling caring responsibilities with paid work is difficult and arduous, and employees may feel it difficult to manage.
Many employers are unaware of their legal obligations towards employee carers. We receive a number of questions from employers regarding carers at work to include:
- Who is a carer?
- Do employees have to tell their employer they are a carer?
- What rights do carers have to time off?
- What right do carers have to work flexibly?
- What protection do carers have from disciplinary action, dismissal, discrimination harassment and victimisation at work?
As an employer, there are practical measures that can be taken to assist carers in the workplace. As a starting point, you could consider developing a carer’s policy or adapting your existing policies to expressly cover carers. You could also discuss alternative working arrangements with carers to ensure that their responsibilities are manageable, for example, part-time working or job share arrangements. If this is agreed, we can assist you in implementing agreed variations to employee’s contracts of employment.
A useful step for businesses to take to ensure that they are well equipped and up to date on the legal protections available to carers, is to invest in equality training particularly for Managers responsible for employees who juggle caring responsibilities with their role. We can arrange expert in-house training for your business if required.
Businesses may also chose to offer employees access to employee assistance programmes or counselling to support carers in managing a work-life blend and also ensure that there are no problems arising which could affect their ability to carry out their role. If you would like to find out more information on which measures employers should consider ensuring that carers are treated fairly in the workplace, please contact our employment team.