Carers Australia is committed to improving employer understanding of the importance of workplace participation of carers. For many carers, the option of engaging in the paid workforce is limited by their caring role. However, many carers of workforce age would like to combine caring with paid employment and experience the economic, health and social benefits that come with this. Carers would also like to work in positions that value their skills, education and experience.
Improved access to flexible work arrangements can give carers a better chance of combining their caring commitments with paid employment. There are many flow on benefits for carers as a result of workplace participation, including; improved personal income and superannuation, reduced reliance on government payments and allowances, improved carer health and wellbeing and improved ability to meet the costs of caring.
Evidence strongly suggests that not only are there benefits to carers as a result of better workplace conditions for carers, but there are many benefits to businesses and organisations that flow from their ability to offer flexible workplace arrangements; especially, an improved ability to attract, develop and retain high quality staff, and increased productivity.
Carers Australia has reviewed the status of carers in the workforce. We have identified a number of barriers, real or perceived, that threaten carer workforce participation. By supporting and contributing to the development of the Care Aware campaign and Care Aware Workplace Program, we are raising employers’ awareness of the needs of carers. The Care Aware Workplace Guidelines are available to employers from the Care Aware campaign website. They are the starting point for employers to commit to a workplace conversation about carers and to the development of processes that remove barriers to carers in the workplace.
Raising awareness is the starting point for Carers Australia. We plan to undertake more extensive engagement with employers on this issue. Employers that are committed to becoming Care Aware will understand and value carers and the caring role and this will translate to better outcomes for carers. A commitment from employers should result in improved availability of flexible workplace options for carers.