A new survey shows 7.4m carers feel their jobs are at risk if their caring responsibilities increase as a result of the coronavirus.
Working carers say they may have to give up their jobs due to unsupportive employers if they need to take on greater caring responsibilities than they already have, according to new research.
The survey from savings and retirement business Phoenix Group today shows 75% of UK unpaid carers are currently employed with three in 10 UK workers [7.4m people] believing they may have to give up their job due to unsupportive employers if they have to take on a new or greater caring role. Yet 43% say they would struggle to afford to give up work to care for a loved one. Some (19%) would try to go part time rather than give up work completely.
The survey shows that flexible working would help carers stay in work. Two in five (40%) working carers say they would look for a more flexible working routine to enable them to keep earning as they are if they had to take on caring responsibilities, while just one in five (20%) would choose to give up their job to focus on caring full time. Almost three in five say they consider more flexible working hours a fair employee benefit.
The Government is currently consulting on the introduction of working carer’s statutory rights which includes five days unpaid leave. Phoenix Group is calling for the new legislation to be brought forward and for employers who
can to offer the five days leave as paid without delay.
Andy Briggs, Chief Executive, Phoenix Group and Government Business Champion for Older Workers, said: “It is a deep concern that working carers feel so unsupported by employers that they may have to quit their jobs in the future. Regardless of the time spent working for a company, many workers believe they wouldn’t be able to juggle work and take on caring responsibilities given the lack of support available from businesses.
“The vast majority of employed carers want to remain in the workforce, but they need more flexibility and support to enable them to do so. In the current economic environment, it is a worry that people feel they may be forced to stop work and give up their income.
“During the pandemic we have all seen the important role that those who care for others play and we should not lose sight of that.”