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Become a carer-friendly employer

  Introduction

Norfolk's carers need our support and practical help.

We want everyone to #ThinkCarers and make a pledge to support the thousands of people who are unpaid carers across the county.

It's estimated there are currently about 100,000 carers in Norfolk and by 2040 there will be another 38,000 - that increase is the equivalent of a town almost the size of King's Lynn.

Here are some other carer statistics:

  • One in seven of the workforce across the UK combine caring for a loved one with paid work
  • If we had to ‘buy’ the care our carers give it could cost us up to £1.9 billion a year
  • 32% of carers are currently juggling work and care
  • Almost a quarter of carers are providing 50-plus hours of care a week – that’s much more than a full-time job

We're looking to help Norfolk's employers become more carer friendly and this page offers information and advice to help you. You can download our information pack for employers and also take the carer-friendly pledge.

  Norfolk Carers Charter

We launched the Norfolk Carers Charter in November 2018. It was written by carers for carers, and has three key strands – Carers in work, Carers in the community and Young Carers in education.

We want as many organisations in Norfolk to adopt this charter for our carers in work – with a specific focus on the following:

  • Supporting carers is good for us and for carers
  • Carers should be helped and supported by us to stay in work
  • The unique skills carers gain through their caring role should be recognised and valued in the workplace

Employees can expect a workplace which:

  • Adopts carer-friendly practices
  • Has a carers policy that helps them balance their wellbeing, work and caring
  • Has managers who are well trained and skilled to talk with carers about their caring roles and take suitable action to meet carers’ needs
  • Has a positive approach that helps carers identify themselves and understand the help and support available

We agree to:

  • Ensure policies relating to carers are all in one place and easy for carers and their managers to find
  • Develop HR staff and managers to make sure they are empowered to talk about caring with staff and make suitable changes to meet carers’ needs
  • Work with carers within the organisation and connect them to help and support services

  Why caring for carers is good for business

Analysis from Age UK shows that an estimated £5.3bn a year is lost from the economy in earnings due to people leaving the workforce to take on caring responsibilities for older or disabled loved ones. Supporting carers to work makes good business sense.

Carers have unique skills gained through their caring roles; they are flexible, resourceful and resilient.

Carers don’t want to be a special case – they want understanding and support from employers which helps them do their job well and continue their caring responsibilities.

Here are just some of the benefits to having carer-friendly policies at your business:

  • An increase in staff morale and loyalty
  • Better staff retention
  • A reduction in sick leave and absenteeism
  • An improvement in staff engagement
  • Improved people management
  • More effective team working
  • Improved service delivery
  • Increased productivity
  • Reduced recruitment and training costs
  • A greater ability to attract staff
  • Cost savings achieved

(Source: HM Government/Employers for Carers in Employment Task and Finish Group ‘Supporting Working Carers: The Benefits to Families, Business and the Economy’)

  Special resource for Norfolk's carer-friendly employers

Norfolk County Council is proud to be working with Employers for Carers (EFC) to help SMEs and health partners in Norfolk support and keep hold of the carers in their workforces.

Get practical resources, advice and information from EFC to help you look after staff who are juggling work alongside caring for someone.

Use our unique access code #EFC2382 to register.

  What else can my organisation do?

Apply for the Carer Friendly Tick

You can make your carer-friendly status official by applying for the Carer Friendly Tick. This accreditation is organised by Carers Trust Cambridgeshire, Peterborough, Norfolk.

The emphasis on local and relevant standards which carers feel are necessary to ensure they are easily identified and properly supported within employment.

To be carer friendly you should:

  • Have a named member of staff as a Champion for Carers
  • Have a carers’ policy developed in consultation with carers in your organisation
  • Cover issues relating to carers in staff training and recruitment
  • Display information about carers, as well as projects that support them locally
  • Raise awareness in Carers Week and Carers Rights Day

If your organisation would be interested, email hello@carerstrustcpn.org

Create a supportive culture

Remember, some members of staff may not identify themselves as carers, and most will only identify themselves where they feel supported to do so.

Here are some top tips from ADASS (the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services) for supporting working carers:

  • Get to know which of your employees are working carers
  • Identify leaders for working carers within your organisation
  • Develop and review your workplace support and policies to ensure that they are flexible,
  • responsive and explicitly support working carers
  • Ensure that support is in place and is clearly communicated to all staff
  • Equip your mangers to support working carers and make sure they do so
  • Create opportunities for working carers to support one another
  • Ensure job opportunities and promotions are flexible and support applications from working carers
  • Monitor, evaluate and review your approaches to supporting working carers
  • Communicate clearly that you are a carer-friendly employer, and what additional support you offer

You can download a leaflet on how to support working carers, which has been produced by ADASS. 

Raise awareness of carers in the workplace

The care of an ill, older or disabled loved one is often just a part of life for many people.

Those providing this care may not even identify as a carer, remaining unaware of what support is available to them both inside and outside of work.

By raising awareness of carers within your workplace, this may help your employees to identify themselves as carers and find out about support available to them and the person they care for.

  Get in touch

Why not join in the conversation and let us know you're carer friendly? Tweet from your social media accounts to us @norfolkCC with the hashtag #ThinkCarers

You can also spread the word to other organisations who you think may be interested in joining up.

If you'd like to speak to someone for more information or help on how to ensure you're providing a carer-friendly environment to your employees, email thinkcarers@norfolk.gov.uk

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