Almost all of us have had caring responsibilities or know someone else who has and have struggled to balance them with work and other claims on our time.
In June, our charity partner Carers UK estimated that there are now 2.8 million extra workers juggling work and unpaid care as a result of covid-19. We've seen evidence of this at Centrica through a 9% increase in membership of our employee Carers Network which offers vital peer support to our colleagues.
The theme of this year's Carers Rights Day is 'Know your Rights' and we want to make sure that the Carers in Centrica know that they are supported and can access the help they need.
Unpaid caring is an issue hidden in plain sight and YouGov estimated in 2019, that 1 in 7 of UK workers were juggling work and unpaid care. The COVID 19 crisis has made this situation worse. Carers UK estimates that there are now 2.8 million extra workers who now have caring responsibilities and carers have taken on an extra 10 hours a week of care during the crisis - many are struggling to cope. Having an employer who faces into this, puts in place measures that support carers and drives a culture that normalises the challenges - makes all the difference.
I have caring responsibilities for my disabled sister and I also cared for my elderly widowed father until he died in January.
600 people a day leave the UK workforce because they can no longer balance work and care. Carers UK estimate that UK companies could save up to £4.8 billion every year through avoiding unplanned absence and £3.4 billion from employee retention and we continue to campaign with them in the hope other employers will introduce similar measures.
Most importantly, these measures drive a culture of care and collaboration in workplaces and normalise the issue of balancing work and care. Every one of us may find ourselves in this situation and, when we do, the support of our colleagues is vital.
Here’s more information about what Carers UK are doing to make life better for carers - www.carersuk.org