The benefits for employers
Experience shows there are tangible benefits for employers who are mindful of workers’ caring commitments:
- Attract and keep skilled staff
- Save on recruitment costs
- Have a happier, productive workforce with fewer sick days
- Develop flexibility to reorganise your workforce to reflect changes in your market
Supporting workers who have caring responsibilities goes beyond simply being a good corporate citizen. It makes good business sense to retain valuable employees.
Support employers can offer
Understand the challenges of being a working carer
Caring responsibilities can make it difficult to work ordinary hours. A carer may need occasional time off to attend medical appointments or deal with health emergencies.
Different caring situations include new care, short-term care, long-term care, and immediate or emergency care.
Emergency circumstances can result in an employee needing short periods of time off with little notice; this may require understanding and practical support from managers and colleagues.
An increase in caring responsibilities may change an employee’s personal circumstances; at such times they may need more flexibility or a change in work patterns, whether this is for a short time or longer-term.
An employee providing ongoing support may need to take or make personal calls during work hours, to take short periods of time off to assist with transport to medical or other appointments. Starting and finishing work at offpeak times can assist with commuting pressures in large urban areas.
In larger organisations, especially, it is easier to support workers with caring responsibilities if you have formal policies in place. Even so, it’s vital that all people in supervisory or management roles are on board with the programme and understand the benefits to the workplace. Carers often tell us, even in organisations that are ‘carer friendly’, that their immediate supervisor is not as sympathetic as they might be.
Develop flexible working arrangements
Carers say the number one thing they want is the flexibility to change their working arrangements so they fit with their caring responsibilities.
Learn about carers’ rights and obligations
Carers have a legal right, under Part 6AA of the Employment Relations Act 2000, to ask for changes to their working arrangements in order to support someone close to them.
To learn about employers’ obligations for those with caring responsibilities, visit Carers NZ’s homepage at www.carers.net.nz, and click on the ‘Employment + Caring’ section.