Employers in South Tyneside are being encouraged to find out more about new resources to help them support their staff with caring responsibilities.
South Tyneside Council has become a member of Carers UK Employers for Carers which means any small and medium sized firm (SMEs with up to 250 employees), as well as voluntary groups, charities and health partners can now access the resources free of charge.
The Employers for Carers toolkit helps organisations to identify the needs of carers in the workplace and provide practical ways in which to support them. Featuring case studies, model policies, FAQs, toolkits, expert opinion pieces, policy news and essential guides, the resource will help employers, managers, carers and the wider workforce to raise awareness about unpaid carers.
Councillor Anne Hetherington, Lead Member for Independence and Wellbeing, said: "We know that many carers struggle to balance their employment with their caring role, and don't feel able to talk about the impact it is having upon them with their employer. It's not surprising then that one in six carers give up work or reduce their hours to care.
"Many carers give up their job because they aren't aware of any alternatives and they don't know what support is available to them. Similarly, employers aren't always aware of how they can support their employees with a caring responsibility."
She added: "In line with our priority of supporting vulnerable communities, we want to ensure that carers have the help and support to enable them to carry out their caring responsibilities but at the same time flourish in whichever goals and ambitions they have for themselves.
"Employers can help carers to remain in employment and overcome any, real or perceived, stigma by offering flexible and supportive working arrangements. This benefits employers in many ways including improving staff retention and satisfaction, reducing sick leave, increasing productivity, and creating a more diverse workforce."
To launch the resources the Council and Carers UK have organised a special event for all SMEs in South Tyneside next Thursday (25 November) which is also Carers Rights Day. This will take place online at 2pm. Tickets can be booked online here.
The Council's membership of the scheme also includes Digital Resource for Carers which is designed to provide information and support directly to individuals with caring responsibilities. It is available to all carers in the Borough, not just those in employment.