EXCLUSIVE: Andrew West (pictured), HR manager, reward and system at the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), will discuss how employers can support working carers to help them cope with juggling care and work responsibilities at Employee Benefits Live 2017.
The session, titled ‘Supporting carers in the workforce’, will form part of the diversity and inclusion conference stream on Wednesday 11 October.
During the session, West will highlight the hidden impacts that caring responsibilities can have on employees, for example, on their overall health, wellbeing and finances. He will discuss how employers can support working carers in these key areas using initiatives such as flexible working and benefits which have proved effective at the RCN.
West will also discuss common assumptions that are made regarding working carers, such as who in the workforce is most likely to be a carer and the types of support that would be most helpful.
West said: “According to Carers’ UK, there are three million people combining paid work with caring for a loved one and [it is] estimated that within our lifetime, that’s going to go up to nine million people. That’s already one in eight people.
“So, from an organisational point of view, I’d be asking the question about whether any employer can afford not to appeal to an eighth of the workforce by not providing the kind of support they might need. Can [employers] afford to effectively exclude an eighth of all job seekers because [they] can’t provide the kind of flexibility [carers] might need to combine work with their caring responsibilities?
“Employers that don’t keep up with that change in demand are going to be dreadfully left behind in the marketplace. The numbers are going up, it’s not very long before it’s going to be a really critical issue for employers. They can’t afford to not cater for that number of people.”
Employee Benefits Live 2017 will take place on Tuesday 10 and Wednesday 11 October at Olympia National, London.