Supporting Working Carers
Published by: LifeWorks,
It may not be obvious to you in your role as a manager but, as millions of people provide care to an older or dependent relative, it’s likely that many members of your team are caring for a loved one. Caring can be quite costly and can demand significant energy from employees in your workforce. Here are some ways to offer support to the working carers on your team:
Be open to discussion about an employee’s caring needs. Encourage employees to discuss situations that may affect their job. Let them know that this will help you understand what they’re dealing with so that you can support them at work.
Allow for flexible work options whenever possible. Familiarise yourself with flexible work arrangements—such as remote work, flexible hours, a compressed workweek, and job sharing—that are available at your organisation.
Provide the employee with information on available benefits. Does someone you manage feel overwhelmed by caring demands or need help finding local resources? Suggest contacting the assistance program. Does the person need to take extended time off to help a spouse, child, or parent through a serious medical crisis? Australian employees can take sick and carer’s leave, also known as personal leave, if they need to care for a member of their immediate family. If in doubt, consult your human resources (HR) representative. They will be able to provide you guidance about both company and government policies concerning extended periods of leave.
Promote a team culture that is carer-friendly. If carers are perceived as getting unfair advantages, the result can be stigmatisation and resentment. To avoid that, talk about the value that the caring experience can bring to your team. Participate in caring awareness campaigns, such as National Carers Week, which provides support, guidance, and education to carers, and brings awareness to their essential role. And be consistent about setting clear, fair performance expectations for all team members, carers or not.