"The University recognises carers as members of staff with significant caring responsibilities that may have a substantial impact on their working life."
According to the latest research from Carers UK, 1 in 7 workers are juggling work with caring. It also showed that 0.5 million people gave up work over the last 2 years in order to care and 2 million carers have reduced their working hours.
WHAT IS A CARER?
The University recognises carers as members of staff with significant caring responsibilities that may have a substantial impact on their working life. A staff member is a carer if they are responsible for the care and support of a disabled, elderly or sick partner, relative or friend who is unable to care for themselves.
Of the 2551 staff members who completed the 2019 QUB Institutional Staff Survey 24% identified themselves as a Carer of someone with a long-term physical or mental illness or disability, or problems related to old age. That is almost 1 in 4 of respondents.We are an aging workforce. The average age of a member of staff at Queen’s is 45. The most common age for caring is 45-59 years old when many find themselves with caring responsibilities for both younger and older dependants.
WHY SHOULD I TELL MY EMPLOYER ABOUT MY CARING RESPONSIBILITIES?
As a working carer you are likely to need a range of support at different times, from access to a telephone to check on the person you care for, to leave arrangements to accommodate hospital appointments or a hospital discharge. Telling work you are a carer is not always an easy step and it is up to you whether you tell your manager about your caring responsibilities or not.
Telling other colleagues can also help and it may help simply to discuss your situation with someone you can trust at work. You may find that colleagues also have caring responsibilities, and that together you are more able to talk to your manager about how you can be supported.
As your employer we would encourage you to declare your caring responsibilities as this will help us to provide appropriate support for you.
We would strongly encourage you to update your equality monitoring information by clicking on 'Sensitive Information (Diversity and Inclusion)' in iTrent self-service. This helps us to develop a clearer picture of how many staff have caring responsibilities.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT AS AN EMPLOYER/LINE MANAGER TO SUPPORT OUR CARERS?
Having dependants is a protected characteristic under Section 75 of the NI Act 1998.
At Queen’s we care about the mental health and wellbeing of our staff. We are committed to providing a supportive and compassionate environment, where people feel comfortable to talk openly about the things that are happening in their lives and to seek support, advice and information to help balance competing daily demands.
Few of us plan to become carers but 3 in 5 of us will be a carer at some point in our lives. It is important to support our staff carers so that they can remain in employment and progress in their career, alongside their caring role.
If carers needs are not addressed the following issues may arise:-
- Loss of talent – 1 in 6 carers leave work or reduce hours to care
- Costs of Recruitment – One year of employee’s salary or more
- Lost potential and productivity – Reduced working hours/ working below skill level
- Employee Health – Twice as many people with significant caring responsibilities report poor health if unsupported
- Absenteeism – More than 1 in 3 employers report increased absence due to caring if unsupported
- Lower staff turnover
- Reduced recruitment and training costs
- Greater productivity
- Lower absenteeism
- Higher Staff Morale
- More creativity and energy
Rachael Saunders, Age at Work Director, Business In The Community
WHAT SUPPORT IS AVAILABLE TO ME AS A WORKING CARER AT QUEEN'S?
Queen’s offer a wide range of policies to support your work-life balance.
We currently have a Carers Network which allows carers across QUB to come together to chat and share experiences. If you wish to join please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.Please visit the Staff Wellbeing website for a calendar of Staff Wellbeing events, including lunchtime classes at Queen’s Sport and On-site Holistic therapies. Staff Counselling is available for staff through Inspire Workplaces.
USEFUL EXTERNAL INFORMATION AND SUPPORT
There is a wide range of support available for carers through external organisations. Unfortunately, it is often the case that no-one tells you what assistance and financial support you may be entitled to. We have tried to assist our carers at Queen’s by pulling together relevant links/information below. If you find any links are not working please email email@example.com with the details.
Carer CoordinatorsEach health trust area has a Carers Coordinator who is a point of contact for family carers. They can tell you about local carer support including:
- Breaks from caring
- Carer training
- Carer's assessments
- Putting you in touch with health trust services and other support organisations
They can also inform you of events and carer support groups in your area, benefits advice, potential grants and much more to help you maintain your health and wellbeing in your caring role.
For details of the Carer Coordinator in your area please click here.The carers sections of the websites for each Trust area are listed below:-
- Belfast Health and Social Care Trust
- Southern Health and Social Care Trust
- Northern Health and Social Care Trust
- South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust
- Western Health and Social Care Trust
Looking after a member of your family who has a disability or illness can be a massive commitment and impact on you financially. Fortunately there’s financial support available and support services to help share the load. Some useful links can be found below.
- Carers Benefits Calculator
- Employers for Childcare Family Benefits Advice
- Guide to Financial support for people with disabilities
- Support Available when Caring for Someone
- Carers Allowance
- Caring for someone while working
- Self-Directed Support
- Blue Badge Scheme
Free/Discounted Entry for Carers
A number of attractions around Northern Ireland give free entry or discount to carers, please click here for further details. If you are aware of any others please email details to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can update the list.
Useful Support Organisations