Employers are being encouraged to sign up to a new service offering bespoke information and support for employees who care for people with degenerative conditions.
HERE is a dedicated helpline and website set up by charity Guideposts and employee benefits providers PES for people living with conditions such as dementia, their carers and the professionals who look after them.
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An estimated 6.4 million people in the UK are responsible for caring for a loved-one who has a long-term and/or degenerative condition. Many find themselves under considerable pressure; 80 per cent of carers say it has had an impact on their physical health while 84 per cent say it’s taken a toll on their mental health. While over a third of working age carers gave up work or reduced their hours to care.
Ian Rummels, director of PES, said: “Caring about the health and wellbeing of your employees is a worthwhile and rewarding thing for an employer to do. As well as the important legal duties there are real commercial advantages to having a workforce that functions flexibly, happily and healthily.
“We’re thrilled to be launching HERE as part of our comprehensive employee benefits package. We provide these packages to smaller and medium sized employers throughout the UK and our challenge has always been to balance a set of employee benefits that will be attractive to employees with affordability to businesses. HERE will be affordable for businesses of all sizes, and provide a welcome relief to working carers looking for somewhere to turn for support.”
Approximately, one in seven employees in any workforce will be caring for someone who is ill, frail or has a disability. This could rise to as many as one in three by 2020. All this can have a dramatic impact on business; the cost of an unsupported working carer can be as high £10,000 for an employer in lost time and lost productivity.
The service offers in-depth, bespoke information and support on the medical, welfare and financial issues affecting carers and their families, as well as details of help in their local area. Offering the service could help businesses cut long-term absence, improve productivity and retention, boost employee morale and save money.
Zoe McIntosh, head of information and carers’ services for Guideposts, which is offering the service, said: “Guideposts has more than 40 years’ experience of working with people who are living with a range of long-term health or degenerative conditions. While we have helped many people to lead more independent lives for longer, we often find their family members and carers are struggling alone.
“HERE will support those caring for loved ones, by offering information and hands-on support within the context of the services available within their local communities. Our research shows that carers can often take great comfort in knowing that there is somebody for them to turn to when times get tough. We are delighted to help employers make this a reality for many thousands of working carers across the UK.”