Friday, 19 March 2010

CIPD press release

CIPD survey shows workers as likely to have caring responsibilities for a partner, relative, and friend as they are for children, highlighting growing demand for flexibility at work

A survey of 2,000 employees by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) shows workers are as likely to have caring responsibilities for a partner, relative, and friend as they are for children. Focus on Caring at Work finds a third (34%) of employees have some form of caring responsibilities, with 20% citing children. However, 12% cite relatives, 6% their partner, and 2% a friend.

And the survey also shows there is little difference between the sexes in their caring responsibilities, with 36% of women citing caring responsibilities and 33% of men.

Ben Willmott, CIPD senior public policy adviser, says: "The survey highlights the challenges many employees have in managing what are often a range of caring responsibilities. The proportion of people having to balance work while caring for their partner or spouse, parents, and other relatives will increase as life expectancy continues to rise and as people work longer to save for retirement.

"This is why the CIPD is calling for the right to request flexible working to be extended to all employees, rather than just parents, by 2013. This is not about employers putting the interests of employees before the business, it is just about them seriously considering whether they can accommodate flexible working requests in order to recruit and retain a diverse workforce."

Focusing purely on childcare, 72% of mothers and 43% of fathers have changed how or where they work to play a more active role in their children's upbringing. Of these:

• Almost a third of working parents (31%) report they have worked flexibly to become more active parents
• Twenty-eight per cent have worked shorter hours and 23% have worked from home
• However, sixteen per cent have gone as far as changing their jobs to become a more active parent

Willmott continues: "The survey suggests that the majority of employers are already providing flexible working options to allow working parents to play an active role in the upbringing of their children. Employers that don't provide flexible working options for working parents risk losing valuable employees.

"However, our survey also indicates that employees with other caring responsibilities such as aging or sick parents and partners will increasingly expect the same sort of work-life balance opportunities as working parents."

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