Aon has introduced new support for its UK employees who need to juggle their day jobs with caring for loved ones.
The global professional services company’s carers’ leave policy came into effect this month (June) and provides five days of paid leave every year for those who are looking after partners, relatives or friends.
Announced during Carers Week, which runs from 5-11 June, the firm highlighted that the leave can be taken as half or full days to enable flexibility. More than 6,000 UK employees, based across 20 offices nationally, are eligible for the leave.
The policy was established following feedback from Aon’s UK Parents and Carers Business Resource Group (Resource Group), which aims to support parents and carers, raise awareness, and share resources and information. The group revealed that many employees were using their holiday entitlements for caring responsibilities, despite being able to take discretionary paid leave.
Chris Dunford, chief people officer at Aon UK, said: “Juggling work and caring for a relative, partner or friend can be extremely challenging. Our employees are our priority and, although we already offer paid leave for carers at their manager’s discretion, we wanted to instil a more formalised framework to help support employees with caring responsibilities and alleviate any concerns around taking time off work. Aon’s carers’ leave policy makes it clear that any employee who has caring responsibilities is eligible to receive up to five full days paid leave in addition to their annual leave.
“We are grateful to the members of our Parents and Carers Business Resource Group for helping to identify where improvements could be made, and we are pleased to implement these changes to align with their feedback. For our employees, it means that if they are supporting someone with a long-term or a short-term illness or disability, they can take time off to help support them and for respite to focus on their own wellbeing.
To mark carers week, employees were given a resource pack from the Parents and Carers Business Resource Group and could attend three webinars on issues such as caring for someone with dementia, how carers can build their personal support networks, and an open forum discussion.
Helen Walker, chief executive of Carers UK, said: “We know that being able to use paid carer’s leave makes a huge difference to working carers supporting older, disabled or seriously ill relatives – allowing them to better manage their dual responsibilities, relieving some of the stress and supporting them to stay in work. It can improve health and wellbeing and helps with retention and recruitment, making good business sense as well as helping employees.
“With up to five days of unpaid carer’s leave very recently legislated through the Carer’s Leave Act 2023, Aon is already a step ahead in offering its staff paid leave.”
In addition to the new entitlements, the company is continuing to offer six back-up care sessions per year to give staff access to care at times when their usual arrangements are not available. Provided by My Family Care, employees can access the service to support any member of their family.