One in six UK workers take time of to care for elderly but only 21% of employers offer flexible working

One in six workers in the UK have taken time off, or have worked irregular hours, to care for an elderly relative research has revealed.

Image via Shutterstock - Flexible working
Image via Shutterstock

Furthermore, 34% of those workers said they had to also take sick leave to fulfil caring responsibilities. The study was conducted by Willis PMI Group, who surveyed 1,197 workers.

Mike Blake, Director at Willis PMI Group, said: “An ageing workforce poses a number of significant challenges for UK business. Already, 30 per cent of the country’s workforce is over the age of 501, meaning many will find themselves needing to juggle work with the responsibility of caring for an elderly relative, often a parent.”

“Often employees will find it difficult to ask for help and may try to continue working as if nothing is wrong, which is why it is important for businesses to ensure the appropriate support is in place to avoid an impact on sickness absence.”

He added: “Flexible working is a positive step but employers may also consider eldercare benefits. These schemes are not yet commonly used but can help to provide everything from extra care at home to assistance with financial planning.”

The survey found that 39% overall had taken annual leave, at some point, to care for a relative and 32% said they have taken compassionate leave. However, despite these figures, only 21% were granted flexible working by their employers.

56% of those surveyed called for more provisions from employers to offer support and guidance services for people with caring responsibilities.

Blake added: “Although the primary responsibility rests with businesses to ensure their employees feel they have access to sufficient support, a challenge exists for benefit providers too.

“In the face of an ageing workforce, the industry will need to work harder to provide creative solutions that meet the needs of both employers and employees.”

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