The number of working carers in Wales and across the UK has been increasing for many years due to an ageing population. The number of Disabled people has increased, especially during the pandemic, and the workforce in general is ageing through workers retiring later.
There is now a much greater pressure on friends and families to provide care. This means people are working and caring for longer. The average person in Wales now has a 50:50 chance of becoming a carer by age 45, long before retirement age.
Many unpaid carers struggle to balance caring for a loved one with maintaining employment. 149,812 people in Wales have had to give up employment to care, and amongst those who have been able to stay in employment, 74,906 working carers in Wales have had to reduce their hours of work. A high proportion of these workers would like to stay in paid employment, but their work has not been flexible enough.
Today, on Young Carers Day, Wales TUC is calling on employers to do more to support their workers who have caring responsibilities.
This should include:
Wales TUC and Carers Wales are now collecting information from workers in Wales about their individual experiences of working in looking after someone. Their new survey asks about workers’ ability to work and progress in their careers as well as the impact caring has on their physical and mental health.
They will also gather data on what workplaces in Wales are currently doing to help workers with caring responsibilities through workplace policies, flexible working arrangements and more. The data will be used to speak to Government about what needs to change and work directly with employers to make things better for those who look after others.
The findings of the survey will be used by the union body to create new resources for union reps and to speak to Government about what needs to change and work directly with employers to make things better for those who look after others.
The survey is open to everyone who works in Wales, not just union members. It is available in both Welsh and English and takes around 8 minutes to complete.
Wales TUC General Secretary Shavanah Taj said: “No one should be forced to stop working or be unable to progress in their career because of their caring responsibilities. As more and more of us take on these responsibilities while we’re still working, employers need to step up and provide workers with the support and flexibility they need and provide paid carers leave.
“Whilst we know the statistics on how many workers in Wales care for others, we now need to hear your personal stories. How have you found juggling work and looking after others? What has your employer done to help you that might be useful to other workers in Wales? And how is the Trade Union movement helping you?”
“You might not think of yourself as a carer but if you provide any kind of support to others, from emotional support to help with taking medicines or managing someone’s finances, then we want to hear from you.”