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The big challenge to UK businesses no one is talking about

26th Aug 16 10:07 am

One in three London workers have taken time off to care for elderly relatives

More than a third of Londoners (34 per cent) have had to take time off work, or work irregular hours, to care for an elderly relative, new research has revealed.

The problem in London is more acute than anywhere else in Britain, according to the study of 1,197 workers by Willis PMI Group, part of Willis Towers Watson. The second highest figure is in the North West, where only 15 per cent say caring responsibilities have disrupted their work.

More than half of London workers (52 per cent) claim they have had to take annual leave to fulfil caring responsibilities, while 43 per cent have taken time off as sick leave. Compassionate leave has been taken by 37 per cent of Londoners at some point but only 14 per cent have been granted flexible working in order to care for elderly relatives.

Mike Blake, Director at Willis PMI Group, said: “An ageing workforce poses a number of significant challenges for UK business. Already, 30 per cent of the country’s workforce is over the age of 501, meaning many will find themselves needing to juggle work with the responsibility of caring for an elderly relative, often a parent.

“Often employees will find it difficult to ask for help and may try to continue working as if nothing is wrong, which is why it is important for businesses to ensure the appropriate support is in place to avoid an impact on sickness absence.

“Flexible working is a positive step but employers may also consider eldercare benefits. These schemes are not yet commonly used but can help to provide everything from extra care at home to assistance with financial planning.”

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