At our recent #AsktheExpert June Masterclass, we discussed all things carers.
We shared top tips on how to assist and support carers in your workplace. There is clearly no ‘one size fits all’ approach as each organisation and each carer will be different but here are our tips:
- Communication is everything. Having good lines of communication between the employee and their line manager is really important. Some carers might not want to acknowledge their caring role or might still be processing what being a carer means for them. They might not want to tell everyone their business, so a lot of the information you get may be from informal conversations. Having a relationship of trust can really help in situations that are sensitive and difficult. Remember to treat information shared confidentially.
- Have an informal meeting or meetings. Speak to the employee to understand what their role involves and what sort of support they think they might need. Do they need to take some immediate time off to get some initial matters in order? Stress that you want to help and see if there is any support that can be given with their workload in the short term. You may need to have further meetings and be prepared for things to change: the employee will likely have to consider things afresh as their caring role develops or as they try to juggle it with work.
- Longer term support. Could the employee benefit from flexible working (even a short-term change)? Are there any internal support systems you have, such as an employee support scheme? Should you be directing them to any external agencies, such as their GP?
Remember that becoming a carer can happen unexpectedly and suddenly. Wherever possible, give the employee the chance to digest what is happening. Remember that they might be distressed and confused. Keep lines of communication open and constructive and do all you can to support.
If you need help in relation to carers’ rights in your workplace, then please get in touch.
If you would like to sign up for our next Ask the Expert then please do so using the following link, if you have questions or suggestions for future sessions then please send them to email@example.com.
Donna Reynolds, Partner
Accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as a Specialist in Employment Law & Discrimination Law