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Carer Positive

The Carer Positive initiative awards recognition to employers in Scotland with good practice in supporting carers in their workforce.

This might be through flexible working policies or with simple, practical measures which can make a big difference to carers.

Juggling work and care

Carer Positive aims to raise awareness of the growing number of working carers and the benefits to employers of supporting and retaining valuable members of staff.

In Scotland, it’s estimated that around 1 in 7 people in the workforce are juggling work and caring, with the number of carers across the UK forecast to increase by around 50% over the next 20 years.

90% of working carers are over the age of 30, with the peak age between 45 and 64, when considerable skills and experience have been built up.

As many as 1 in 5 people give up work because of their caring responsibilities at home.

How employers can support working carers

For carers in employment, having a supportive and flexible working environment can make a huge difference to maintaining and progressing career opportunities.

Support can take many forms at work, like:

  • procedures for carers to identify themselves and feel comfortable about doing this
  • practical support, like having somewhere to make a private phone call from, or support through Employee Assistance Programmes
  • peer support, through a workplace carers’ group, or by signposting to a local carers centre or online forum

Workplace policies can outline the support available for carers like:

  • statutory time off for dependents/emergencies
  • more specific (paid/unpaid) leave arrangements for carers (carer’s leave)
  • other work/life balance policies
  • flexible working arrangements

Flexible working can be very helpful for carers, enabling them to effectively manage work and caring responsibilities. This can take different forms, including:

  • job sharing
  • working from home
  • working part-time
  • working shorter days
  • working compressed hours, full-time hours but over fewer days
  • flexitime
  • phased retirement

The Open University offers a course called Caring Counts in the Workplace, created for managers and policy makers, to help support carers in the workforce.

How businesses can benefit

Fostering an environment where each member of staff feels supported in the workplace is good employment practice.

The benefits to employers of having carer-friendly policies and working practices can include:

  • reduced levels of stress and sickness absence
  • lower recruitment and training costs
  • increased staff retention, morale and productivity levels

It could help enhance your reputation as an ’employer of choice’ for the growing numbers of people who value a better work-life balance.

In an ever-tightening labour market, the importance of recruiting and retaining employees with valuable skills and experience is crucial.

Becoming Carer Positive contributes to key workforce management and employee engagement issues. It can also help demonstrate corporate and community social responsibility aims.

Carer Positive and Healthy Working Lives now include aligned criteria to help employers achieve both the Carer Positive and the Healthy Working Lives Award Programme awards.

How to become Carer Positive

If you’re a carer, you can suggest to your employer that they consider becoming Carer Positive. The Carer Positive process is aimed to be clear and straightforward, based on a simple self-assessment process.

There is no cost associated with participating.

Employers submit an application form describing how they meet criteria in 5 key areas. Where possible, this should be accompanied by evidence of their policies and activities.

There are 3 levels:

  • engaged
  • established
  • exemplary

If they wish, employers can progress from one stage to the next, building from an initial level of commitment to creating a culture of support for carers within the organisation.

Organisations are encouraged to identify and develop their own actions as appropriate to their size and structure.

The intention is that all organisations, across all sectors, whether small or large, can achieve each level.

Further information

Visit Carer Positive to find out more and to download an application form.

Working Families helps working parents and carers achieve a good work-life balance.

Read more on flexible working from Carers ScotlandAcas or the UK Government

The information was last updated on: 26th May 2023


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Find my council

You can contact your local council's social care department for a free assessment. Find their details here.

You can contact your local council's social care department for a free assessment. Find their details here.