A scheme is being offered to organisations to help employers support members of their workforce who are also unpaid carers.
Durham County Council’s Employers for Carers scheme is an umbrella partnership with Darlington Borough Council and Carers UK to ensure small to medium enterprises (SMEs) are well-equipped with the tools to support their employees who are also carers.
The free service gives employers in the area a comprehensive online solution to support employees who provide unpaid care for someone who is older, disabled or seriously ill.
Offered in the scheme is guidance for managers and unpaid carers, e-learning for inductions and line managers, information on the law, and advice on developing good, carer-friendly practices.
This month, local SMEs were invited to an event to learn more about Employers for Carers and how their organisation could benefit from support through the scheme.
Cllr Angela Surtees, Cabinet member for social inclusion, said: “It was fantastic to see such good representation from employers at the Employers for Carers event and how keen everyone was to make it easier for carers in Durham to sustain their employment.
“This has obvious benefits for carers as they deal with new or more challenging responsibilities without additional worries about their job or financial security, but employers will also benefit significantly by keeping hold of valued members of their workforce.”
Cllr Lucy Hovvels MBE, cabinet member for adult and health services, said: “In Durham there are thousands of unpaid carers and many are juggling work with looking after an older, ill or disabled loved one. Without the right support, many can be forced to give up or cut back work to care.
“In this scheme, employers are able to retain skilled staff, avoiding costly recruitment and training, while organisations also tell us staff loyalty and productivity is often improved when employers provide flexible assistance for carers.
“I would urge all eligible employers in County Durham and Darlington to register for the free resources available through Employers for Carers and think about how they can improve their carer support in future.”
Cllr Rachel Mills, Darlington Council’s cabinet member for adult social care, said: “It is really important that all employers are aware of and acknowledge the huge challenges faced by carers juggling their employment positions and their unpaid caring roles. We need to remember that carers are vital members of both our families and our workforce.
“Membership of the Employers for Carers scheme enables and empowers employers to actively support their staff who are also carers. This helps much valued employed carers to maintain their wellbeing and, helps employers to positively retain valued employees in their business.”
Invitations are open for SMEs to sign up for the Employers for Carers scheme.
Organisations in County Durham and Darlington can email [email protected] or telephone 0300 005 1213.