Carers Week is an important annual campaign to raise awareness of the contribution made by the UK’s estimated 6.5 million carers, and the challenges they face.
Find out more about the the strength shown by the carers in the performing arts workforce, in the face extraordinary situations and challenges, in our latest blog post.
If you are an employer or manager within the performing arts and are looking to be more inclusive and supportive of your carer workforce, then look no further. Below are 5 Top Tips to get you started.
Carers may be nervous about disclosing their caring responsibilities for fear of repercussions on their employment. Additionally, every carer’s responsibilities and situations are different, and are likely to change over time. Establish and maintain open lines of communication where carers can discuss how their caring responsibilities are impacting their work, and what support or work practice adaptations would be beneficial.
A useful tool in establishing these lines of communication is the Carers Passport Scheme. This scheme provides frameworks for these conversations, and provide a record of information so that carers don’t have to repeatedly have the same conversations new managers and other colleagues. The Scheme will also provide your organisation with a number of useful resources, and indicate clearly to your workforce that being a carer will not disadvantage their work prospects.
Both parents and carers benefit from flexibility to allow them to juggle work and caring. Flexible working can take a number of forms, such as home working, part-time working, flexible hours and compressed hours. When exploring the implementation of flexibility it is important to assess each role individually and tailor flexible working options accordingly. What are the key aspects of the role? How much collaboration is involved? Could implementing flexible working provide an opportunity for a junior staff member to take on more responsibility?
PiPA Charter Partners that have implemented carer-friendly rehearsals reported that these rehearsals were more efficient, and that the supportive company ethos it provided benefitted the quality of work produced.
Key steps in creating carer-friendly rehearsals include:
Truncated rehearsal days
Establishing schedules as far in advance as possible, and stick to them
Eliminating or minimising work on weekends
Ring-fencing a section of your budget to accommodate emergency provision for carers
Audit your work policies to ensure that they are inclusive of carers.
Do you offer time off for dependents? Do you offer paid carer leave? IS this clearly communicated to all staff?
Do your job and professional development opportunities allow enough time for carers to apply?
Are flexible working policies up to date and clearly communicated to current and prospective employees and freelancers?
As highlighted by new research published for Carers Week, 72% of the UK’s carers have not had any breaks from their caring role since the pandemic began. Therefore, you may have carers returning to work from an extended period of furlough who face misconceptions about the ‘break’ they have had. Check in regularly with your returning workforce, and highlight available support. Consider establishing an Employee Assistance Programme, or provide links to other support and services, such as coaching, support groups, mental health first aiders, or helplines. Set up opportunities for carers within your organisation to meet and support each other.
The PiPA Charter Programme supports organisations to work towards becoming family and carer friendly employers using a robust monitoring and evaluation framework, supported with a toolkit of Case Studies, How To Guides and other resources, as well as access to events and the UK wide PiPA network, to create lasting change for their parent and carer workforce.
For more information on any of the tips outlined above, or for more information about joining the PiPA Charter Programme, check out the programme offer, or contact PiPA Charter Programme Manager firstname.lastname@example.org.