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Absence levels are on the increase in over a third of organisations because employees are struggling to balance their caring responsibilities with work.

In its Absence Management survey, the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD) highlights that it is essential for employers to introduce ‘wellbeing policies’ to support workers with caring responsibilities. Failure to do so can result in ‘secret carers’ being left with no choice but to take time off work to care for dependents.


In organisations that have policies in place to support workers fulfil their caring responsibilities, flexible working arrangements are the most common type of support, with over two thirds (68%) of employers offering this to staff.

Compassionate leave is offered by over half (53%) of employers, paid or unpaid carers’ leave by 48%, while 42% provided access to counselling services.

Career breaks and sabbaticals, access to financial services and the option to purchase additional annual leave days are also provided by many organisations to assist workers with unpaid caring commitments.

Communication the key

CIPD research adviser Dr Jill Miller points out that the UK’s ageing workforce is meaning workers have more caring responsibilities.

She says: “As people have children later, and are looking after parents in the ageing baby boomer generation, they find themselves caring for both their children and their older relatives,”

“It’s therefore absolutely vital that employers have strong wellbeing policies in place, and communicate the benefits of flexible working to their employees, who all have the right to request to work flexibly under new legislation.”

Increase staff retention

It is almost impossible for workers with caring responsibilities to work the traditional nine-to-five day. Flexible working arrangements can help employees strike a better work/life balance and reduce absence levels caused by rigid hours.

Employees with caring responsibilities forced to work rigid hours may be left with no alternative but to leave their role, which can result in an organisation losing key skills.

Introduce flexible working arrangements ultimately creates to a significant management headache but an integrated time and attendance solution can take the pressure away.

The latest systems combine time and attendance functions with remote workforce management, absence management and employee self-service functions to enable employers to plan staff working hours and efficiently manage flexible patterns.

Streamline routine tasks

Automating the management of flexible workers helps to reduce admin time whilst the collation of accurate attendance data minimises compliance risk to Working Time Regulations and payroll errors.

Allowing workers to fit their work around their caring responsibilities can result in enhanced productivity levels and a happier workforce, which can improve staff morale.

By providing an instant insight into the ‘working hours’ of their workforce, employers can regularly review arrangements in place and measure their impact on the bottom line to ensure they get the most out of their resources.

This enables employers to understand the impact of flexible working on their business and create working patterns according to meet business demands.



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