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18th May 2021

The leading charity supporting unpaid carers by providing care support services in the home and community today announces the official launch of a new employers’ charter.

The charter will provide employers with a blueprint on how best they can support carers they employ across the county. The initiative is one of several ideas that has come from the ‘Working Carers Task Force Group’ set up by local government and health professionals to better support working carers across Surrey. By signing up to the Charter, employers will commit to acknowledging the significant role unpaid carers have in our society, pledging to be more supportive of them in the workplace.

Terry Hawkins, CEO of Crossroads Care Surrey, said “the charter is aimed at helping businesses understand and recognise the vital role unpaid carers have in society and the charity will commit to providing industry leading information and support which includes best practice advice on creating both carer friendly policies, and line manager training to ensure they can give working carers in their employ flexibility at work, and to enable them to balance caring responsibilities and remain in employment”.

The charter has been developed as a direct result of research revealing working carers simply do not receive the right support in the workplace, or indeed feel confident enough to have a conversation with their employer about their caring responsibility. The recent research undertaken by Sheffield University also reflects the fact that one in every four working carers across the UK believe they would have to leave their jobs if their caring responsibilities increased. It is important that all employers can understand the challenges working carers face, signing the Charter, will give them the incentive them do that,” Hawkins said.

All organisations signing up to the charter can expect to have access to appropriate training, online toolkits, and added benefits through a membership scheme with Crossroads Care Surrey. Carers UK also provide a wealth of information and support for employers across the UK which complement the benefits of the charter for employers in Surrey. Furthermore, employers who commit to the charter, can display the charter mark/logo on their resources to demonstrate to prospective employees they are a supportive employer of working carers.

Hawkins, who introduced the idea of using a charter to encourage employers to create carer friendly policies, added: “All unpaid carers in UK society, including those within the workplace are sadly not recognised for the contribution they make by caring for their loved ones. The current pandemic has resulted in a substantial increase in demand for respite care support. This, coupled with the fact that those caring is anticipated to grow exponentially to 113% by 2051 (Public Health England), further demonstrates the need for a comprehensive charter which supports employers to ensure they are giving the right support for working carers in their employment.”

He goes on to say, “working together within the framework of the partnership gives the charter recognition, demonstrating its value to the business and its employees. It is hoped local businesses who sign up to the Charter, will very quickly appreciate the benefits it offers through loyalty and retention of staff within their employ and at work towards full accreditation in the future.”