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5 th INTERNATIONAL CARERS CONFERENCE 2010, LEEDS NEW FRONTIERS IN CARING, 2010 & BEYOND Employment Support for Carers Alisoun Milne, Reader in Social Gerontology,

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Presentation on theme: "5 th INTERNATIONAL CARERS CONFERENCE 2010, LEEDS NEW FRONTIERS IN CARING, 2010 & BEYOND Employment Support for Carers Alisoun Milne, Reader in Social Gerontology,"— Presentation transcript:

1 5 th INTERNATIONAL CARERS CONFERENCE 2010, LEEDS NEW FRONTIERS IN CARING, 2010 & BEYOND Employment Support for Carers Alisoun Milne, Reader in Social Gerontology, with Sarah Vickerstaff, Wendy Loretto, Elaine Alden, Jennie Billings & Phil White, Universities of Kent & Edinburgh E-MAIL:

2 Policy Context Increasing policy emphasis on promoting & facilitating employment amongst carers: Carers policy e.g. 2004 Carers (Equal Opportunities) Act, the Work & Families Act 2006 & Carers Strategies Work related policy: DWP has core commitment to ensuring carers remain in/return to work (e.g. via WFIs) Also European policy focus on carers & work (Yeandle et al, 2007)

3 Working Carers 3 million carers combine work & caring: 2 million work FT & 1 million PT Intensive caring is a key trigger to reducing working hours or giving up work Particularly pronounced for women & co resident carers (Palmer et al, 2008) Reducing working hours has implications for earnings & pension (Yeandle et al, 2006) 1 in 5 carers give up work to care & many more reduce hours In surveys many carers say they want to remain in, or return to, work

4 Reasons for economic inactivity: by sex and age, 2008 Source: Social Trends, No 39, 2009 Edition, ONS.

5 Employment Support for Carers - Feb 08/March 09 Aim: DWP funded project which aimed to: Investigate how caring responsibilities affect peoples decisions about employment Explore the role & efficacy of services for carers/cared for people Assess how the DWP & JobC+ can effectively help claimants with caring responsibilities to remain in, or return to, work Provide evidence to enable the DWP to develop its Strategy for carers Study areas, sample & methods: Kent & Edinburgh Sample = 55 carers who were either in work or wanted to return to it Semi structured qualitative interviews

6 How do Caring Responsibilities Affect Peoples Decisions about Employment? Caring restricts the nature & amount of paid work a carer can do Although paid work is beneficial it is very stressful combining work & care Many carers described their lives as a juggling or balancing act Feel obliged to keep their employer & co- workers happy whilst ensuring that the person they support does not suffer Finding an employer willing to accommodate care related responsibilities is a barrier to carers wishing to return to work Formal, & informal, work related flexibilities facilitated the balancing of work & caring

7 Q: So it puts you off thinking about other jobs? A: It does. Yeah. It does because then youve got to explain everything, that youre a carer, you know, home has to come first in a way and... I dont know how employers would be. Would they not employ me if I needed to take time off with a weeks notice or something? - under 50, female, working carer

8 The Role & Effectiveness of Support Carers obtained support from a range of formal & informal sources: the NHS, social services, voluntary agencies, family & friends & DWP Most agencies did not conceptualise their role as helping the carer to work: much of the contact focused on meeting the needs of the cared for person Very few had received a carers assessment Fragmented nature of care package: not joined up around needs of both carer & cared for person Need for a single port of call for information Voluntary sector was highly valued as a reliable & trusted source of support & advice

9 … Social Services come in & they say to my wife well … Social Services come in & they say to my wife well well give you an hour a day to give you a wash, they dont look at the carer - over 50yrs male carer - over 50yrs male carer I dont have a social worker now. As he (the cared for person) does not have personal care, the case was closed. Now I dont have anyone to fight my corner closed. Now I dont have anyone to fight my corner - under 50 yrs female carer - under 50 yrs female carer In the dementia field there are lots of organisations but theyre not well integrated & finding things out is a big job for a busy carer - over 50yrs male carer

10 The Role of Employers For a minority, employers demonstrated an active approach to supporting employees who were carers More typically there were no specific policies for carers & limited awareness of what carers rights or needs may be It was up to the carer to ask for help Most felt it was their private responsibility to manage the demands of caring & to ensure that they made minimal demands on their employer Many hid the fact they were carers for fear of being seen as not pulling their weight

11 Employers dont like it. Theyre not really interested in whats going on in your personal life. They dont care. Youre there to do a job of work and thats... you cant blame them, theyre paying your money - over 50yr old female carer

12 When the discussion was going from part-time to full-time they were fully aware of the situation and with the flexi-time system they said yes, take what flexibility you need and they would try to find ways to help. So very supportive. Then of course just before Christmas we had this thing come out of the blue banning all flexi-time. So there are times when I have to take time off. I keep my own time record. My supervisor hasnt asked me for it, but she can see it any time she wants to, and my conscience tries to … I try to make up the time as and when I can. So it is a flexi-time situation, but it definitely took a dent when we had that universal email coming round. - over 50yr old female carer

13 The Role of DWP & Jobcentre Plus Varied level of contact with DWP/JobC+ JobC+ environment widely viewed as unwelcoming Linked to sense that carers needs were not well understood: at this time no expertise on carers was available Carers felt aggrieved that they were described as unemployed Concerned that JobC+ jobs would not be in any way a match for their skills & knowledge Much ill feeling about the complexity & inflexibility of welfare benefits rules One stop shop to include clear advice on benefits!

14 Awful. Absolutely dreadful. I feel like I need to go in with a bodyguard…. and the security guards look like prison warders! - over 50 yrs old female carer …And very rarely in Job centres will you find part time work or temporary work. Obviously its going to be the 30 hour a week stuff. Theyre not going to find me a job that actually uses my skills & knowledge… - under 50 yrs old female carer

15 Conclusion Work-life balance agenda gained prominence Recognition of pivotal role work plays in carers lives & health Uneven commitment by employers to recognise carers needs & embed rights Fragmented level of services support for carer and cared for person or to facilitate work One stop shop needed to address carers needs in the round As the need for family support of frail elders increases so does the need to extend support for working carers & reduce barriers to participation in employment

16 The thing is…carers find themselves in a role. They dont actually volunteer or apply for that role, they are suddenly appointed in to it. But they dont get any training. And they have to keep working and … working and caring rarely mix well … - over 50, male carer

17 Selected References Arskey, H., Kemp, P., Glendinning, C., et al, (2005) Carers Aspirations and decisions around work and retirement, Department of Work and Pensions, Research Report No 290, London Carers UK (2007) Real Change not Short Change: time to deliver for carers London: Carers Loretto, W., Vickerstaff, S. and White, P. (eds) (2007) The Future for Older Workers: New Perspectives, Bristol: The Policy Press Palmer, A., Milne, A and Hastie, C (2008) Caring in Kent: Profiles and Patterns, Centre for Health Service Studies, University of Kent Vickerstaff, S., Loretto, W., Milne, A., Alden, E., Billings, J and White, P (2009) Employment Support for Carers, Department for Work & Pensions: London Yeandle, S, Bennett, C, Buckner, L., et al, (2006) Who Cares Wins: social & business benefits of supporting working carers Carers UK Yeandle, S., Bennett, C., Buckner, L., Fry, G., and Price C (2007) Managing Caring & Employment, London: Carers UK

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