CarersNSW has launched a progressive new initiative Carers + Employers. I was asked to sit on the Project Management Group as a carer representative so I’m delighted to announce the Carers + Employers initiative launched on 1st March.
Carers + Employers – A New Initiative.
This new initiative has been developed with both NSW and Commonwealth Government funding aiming to support workplaces to become more carer friendly, as well as developing a network of employers with improved employment outcomes for carers. The number of carers in the community is set to rise as population ages, and Australians live longer and retire later.
Carers + Employers Initiative – Accreditation.
Juggling both paid and unpaid work is very stressful. Many carers struggle to balance these two roles. Carers + Employers initiative is the first program in Australia that formally accredits carer-friendly employers.
The Carers + Employers initiative program has an accreditation framework that recognises employers that are actively supporting paid work for people with caring responsibilities. There are three levels of accreditation.
Employers that join the program will become part of a network that has access to a dedicated website and member resources. Becoming an Accredited Carer Employer contributes to staff wellbeing, workforce management and wider corporate social responsibility.
There are many ways an organisation can better support carers in their workforce. Strategies do not have to be costly or require major organisational changes.
Carers + Employers Initiative – Supporting carers works for everyone.
Here are 10 tips for a carer-friendly workplace
- Enable staff with caring responsibilities to identify themselves.
- Develop a supportive culture so carers feel comfortable disclosing their caring responsibilities.
- Consult your workforce.
- Make it easy for carers to find out what support is available, and how it can be accessed.
- Promote carers leave entitlements. Explore flexible leave options.
- Promote flexible working arrangements. Ensure staff are aware of carers rights to request flexible working arrangements under the Fair Work Act.
- Deliver training so that support is consistently offered. Line managers should understand the challenges faced by carers, and the policies available.
- Monitor progress and adjust support as necessary.
- Explore opportunities such as offering career breaks, promoting carer-specific return to work programs.
- Provide practical support such as quiet rooms, a car space, peer support group, online forum or “lunch and learn” education sessions can be useful.
Carers + Employers Initiative – A Business Case
The business case for the Carers + Employers initiative
- Improved staff retention.
- Reduced recruitment and training costs.
- Reduced stress, sick leave and absenteeism.
- Improved staff moral and engagement.
- Increased productivity (1).
Finally If you would like more information about the program please visit the dedicated website: http://www.carersandemployers.org.au/
For organisations wanting more information about the initiative please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Further reading regarding carers – Caring is not an isolated activity
(1) Supporting Working Carers: The Benefits to Families, Business and the Economy, Final Report of the Carers in Employment Task and Finish Group, HM Government, Employers for Carers and Carers UK (2013). Evidence was based on research with 200+ employers in the UK.