As a carer, it can be daunting to discuss your caring responsibilities with employers or managers. Below PiPA have provided some tips to help facilitate these conversations and steer the conversation to positive, helpful and practical solutions. To mark Carers Week 2021, we have also created a resource for employers ‘5 Top Tips for Supporting the Carers in Your Workforce’ which we suggest you share with your manager or employer before these conversations take place.
Often people don’t recognise that they are carers, as their situation is normal to them, or the process of becoming a carer was so gradual. Identifying yourself as a carer, and disclosing this to your place of work can entitle you to a number of benefits. Your organisation may have a comprehensive Carers Policy in place to support you.
As mentioned above, your organisation may have policies and staff benefits in place for carers already. A key policy to look for is the Carer Passport Scheme. This scheme provides a framework for disclosing caring responsibilities, and participating organisations have access to resources to implement appropriate support and benefits for you.
If your organisation does not have a Carer Passport Scheme, share this ‘Carer Passport Guide’ with the human resources department so that they can view the benefits of the scheme for themselves.
Can flexitime be integrated into my role to accommodate caring responsibilities? Could my hours be compressed or staggered? Is there scope for aspects of my role to be conducted from home? Could my role be turned into a job share? This might provide a junior staff member with an opportunity to take on more responsibility.
Many PiPA Charter Partners 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. Discussing measures that will help accommodate your caring responsibilities could benefit the company so keep this in mind when having conversations.
Can a rehearsal schedule be finalised and distributed as soon as possible? Emphasise that deviations from this schedule will be problematic due to your caring responsibilities.
Can weekend work be kept to a minimum?
Is there scope for truncated rehearsal days and more but shorter tech days?
Everybody needs support from time to time, and it is important that you take care of your own wellbeing as well as that of those you care for.
Stay Connected: Schedule regular meetings with your manager or human resources to make sure your workload is manageable and that you are able to fit work around your caring responsibilities. These sessions don’t have to be long, and having an arranged meeting can make it easier to discuss changes in circumstances and prevent situations escalating.
Stay Social: Chances are, you aren’t the only carer in your organisation. Form a network, meet for coffee, support eachother. Parents also face some similar challenges and could be a useful addition to this network.
External Support: Does your organisation have an Employment Assistance programme or links to other support or services for your mental health and wellbeing?
If you have any questions about the advice given above, do contact Cassie on firstname.lastname@example.org. To mark Carers Week 2021, we have also created a resource for employers '5 Top Tips for Supporting the Carers in your Workforce' which would be helpful to share.
If your organisation is interested in learning more about PiPA or wants to learn more about developing inclusive, accessible working practices for those with caring responsibilities, our Charter Programme will be able to help. PiPA offers hands-on support, guidance and access to over 40 Resources, Case Studies and How To Guides to help them better support (and with that attract and retain) their parent and carer workforce. For more information, contact our Charter Programme Manager Matt (email@example.com).