How many employees in your workforce are also carers? And how many carers have you lost from your workforce because they felt unable to continue to juggle their work and caring responsibilities?
With the public expenditure costs of carers who feel unable to keep working estimated to exceed £1 billion, it is perhaps not surprising that the government has recognised that working carers increasingly need more support.
Last week, the government launched a pilot scheme, already being rolled out by some employers, which is designed to support employees with caring responsibilities.
The scheme, which will be trialled in nine areas, will explore how technology, such as smart phones and email alerts, can be combined with professional formal and informal support to help staff balance work with caring responsibilities.
Other employers are already going a step further to support working carers. For example, JP Morgan has extended some of its benefits available via its flexible benefits scheme to cover employees’ parents and parents in law. These include homecare assistance, dental cover and health screening.
As the workforce and population continues to age, this issue is increasingly likely to rise up employers’ agendas.
So, have we come full circle, re-entering a time when employers take a more paternal stance towards employees and their families? And, if not, should we be?