Sainsbury’s and Employers for Carers have teamed up with Carers UK to support three million carers in the workplace.
Launched on Carers Rights Day 2010, the Carers UK initiative is calling on employers to regularly review HR policies to ensure carers are recognised.
Employers are also urged to consider additional measures to help carers, such as paid emergency leave and ensuring they have access to a phone at all times.
Research published by Carers UK revealed that around one in six people caring for disabled and ill relatives has given up work due to their caring responsibilities.
One-quarter of those said the reason was insufficient care available, while others cited lack of flexibility and understanding from their employers.
Imelda Redmond, chief executive of Carers UK, said: “With an ageing population, millions more people will have to care in the coming years, representing one of the biggest challenges of our generation.
“It is vital employers tackle this issue now, before this becomes a problem which is impossible to solve.
“Our work with Employers for Carers has shown a little support, understanding and flexibility goes a long way and can deliver business benefits as well as supporting families.”
Gwyn Burr, customer service and colleague director at Sainsbury’s, said: “We recognise many of our [employees] have caring responsibilities and that this has been increasing steadily over recent years.
“It is an important issue for our colleagues and we want to support them.
“At Sainsbury’s, we are proud to have the very best [employees] in retail so we hope this new partnership will support our existing [staff] while, at the same time, potentially attracting new [employees] who might have caring commitments.
“We hope other companies will follow our lead in recognising this vital issue and supporting their [employees].”
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