Letter: Employers should care about carers

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The Independent Online
Sir: It is good to see that some progress is now being made in recognising the needs of working mothers ('Most mothers reject home role to go back to work', 23 September), and it is to be hoped that more support will be offered to them, both financially and

practically.

Let us not forget, however, that there is another very large group of women who receive almost no support at all in the workplace. I refer to those women who are trying to combine paid work with caring for an elderly or disabled relative. It is estimated that one in seven of the part-time workforce have caring responsibilities.

At the recent conference of the Carers National Association, Sir Roy Griffiths said that when he was managing director of Sainsbury he found that one in five of his female staff aged over 30 was going home to a caring situation - often one where the need for care was acute so that they could never rely on a full night's sleep or any kind of social life.

A few employers are finally beginning to realise that their employees may be carers, but the support available to them remains minimal and the issue needs a policy commitment at the highest level.

It is no use putting into place a new system of community care and promising support to full-time carers if we do not also consider the needs of working carers.

Yours truly,

JILL PITKEATHLEY

Director

Carers National Association

London, W2

23 September

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