Juggling work and care can be challenging
Incorporating recognition and support for employees with caring responsibilities does not need to be expensive, nor represent a major change to how an organisation operates.
Recognising carers in their own right, as defined in the Carer Recognition Act (2010), is an effective first step. Connecting carers to relevant workplace policies and supports is another.
Flexible work arrangements can make a big difference
Under the National Employment Standards, carers have the right to request flexible working arrangements under certain circumstances, which include 12 months of continuous employment with the same employer. A formal request must be made in writing, explain what changes are being asked for and provide an explanation for the reasons for the request. Detailed information about who is eligible and the process is available through the Fair Work website.
A guide for carers who want to talk to their manager and request flexible working arrangements can be downloaded below.
It is important for employers to promote carer’s leave entitlements so that carers know what their options are.
The National Employment Standards include both paid and unpaid leave entitlements. More information can be found on the Fair Work Ombudsman website.
Where possible, employers should consider offering carer’s leave provisions above the minimum legislated requirements, and explore flexible leave options such as matched leave, purchased leave or career break leave.
Hear from a carer
Listen to the Carers + Employers Podcast where Rachel discusses how she unexpectedly became a carer for her adult daughter.
Rachel also speaks candidly about the practical and meaningful measures her workplace took, in order to support her with her caring responsibilities.
Where to find support
- Carer Gateway provides carers with a wide range of support including carer support planning, counselling, peer support, planned and emergency respite, carer support packages and online coaching and skills courses. Carers can access free supports through Carer Gateway by calling 1800 422 737.
- The state and territory member organisations of Carers Australia support carers through policies, programs, services, and events to improve the lives of Australia’s carers.
- Seek out workplace policies in regard to leave, flexible work, wellbeing and diversity and inclusion to understand options and protections.