A new report has shown that increasing numbers of carers are having to choose between working and caring for those who depend on them, and leaving their jobs. Around half a million people have left their jobs int he last two years in order to care for an elderly, ill or disabled relative, according to Carers UK. Leaving paid employment and having to rely on Carers’ Allowance puts many of these people into financial hardship.
The report calls for more flexibility in the workplace to accommodate the needs of those who care, with an estimated 5 million people balancing the needs of caring, while still holding down a job.
One suggestion is that employment rights formally recognise the needs of carers, by allowing 5-10 days per year of paid leave.
There is apparently a growing group of ‘sandwich carers’ who are caring for not only older family members, but also children of their own, whose juggling acts are immense. The ONS, reporting on these 1.3m people, has warned that a quarter of them are suffering from depression or stress (see their report online).
You can read more about carers and working on the BBC website.