How to help the 1 in 7 employees juggling working life with care responsibilities

Natalie Hyett

Programme Director



If your life’s anything like mine, it’ll be full of unexpected surprises – a bill you didn’t see coming, some bad news at your car’s MOT, or an emergency trip to the vet. It’s all a bit of a pain to deal with, but it’s usually possible to meet these demands.

And these changes probably won’t impact your working life.

Now, imagine you’re one of the 1 in 7 employees juggling later life caring responsibilities with work. Over the last few years, you’ve been helping your parents with simple jobs like shopping, gardening, and making up the beds. But now your Mum needs you to help her get up and dressed every morning.

Because of your professional responsibilities, you’re struggling to find the time to be there for her.

You feel intensely guilty that you can’t give your parents all the help they need. And you’re worried that your performance at work might start suffering too.

This is the reality for many working carers. Care isn’t widely discussed in the workplace. Employees are often left struggling in silence, with a knock-on effect on their performance at work. The stresses of being a carer can lead to them taking time off sick, cutting their hours or even leaving employment completely.


Care-related absences costs UK businesses £8bn every single year.

And the problem’s only going to keep growing. The over 85 population is set to almost double by 2045, meaning that more and more people are likely to be balancing work with care responsibilities. Covid has brought this into even sharper focus, with an extra 2.8 million people taking on caring responsibilities for vulnerable loved ones. We now have 13.6 million informal carers in the UK – that’s nearly 20% of the population.

That’s why we think it’s time to rethink our approach to care and give our colleagues the support they need.

The first step is to recognise that care-related issues may not appear on employee engagement surveys. Many people don’t identify themselves as carers. Those that do might not want to share such deeply personal information.


So, we recommend stepping beyond the surveys. Start by training your line managers to look out for care issues. Help them understand and have conversations about the challenges carers face, both day to day and at times of crisis. And make sure they know how to offer the right support themselves or know where to send them for help.

That’s where the Legal & General Care Concierge service comes in.

We can help you decide how to care for the carers in your organisation. That’ll help you retain key employees, keep their productivity high and meet all their caring responsibilities. And in times of crisis we’ll be there for them with emotional and practical support.

Watch Legal & General's recent webinar with HR Grapevine on 'How to support working carers' here.

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