Benefits provider Unum UK has made significant enhancements to its carer’s leave policy. The updated policy now provides all employees with caring responsibilities the opportunity to access up to 5 days of paid leave annually.
This change applies to all 850+ Unum employees, regardless of their length of service. This paid leave can be taken as a single block, or as individual full days or as half days, offering employees greater flexibility in managing their work and caregiving commitments and promoting a healthier work-life balance.
The catalyst for this policy adjustment has been the Carer’s Leave Bill, presented to Parliament in June 2022. Carers UK advocated for this legislation by publishing the State of Caring survey, which revealed concerning statistics when it comes to the role of carers in the workplace. It found:
- 75% of employed carers expressed concerns about the challenges of balancing work and caregiving.
- 30% reported poor mental health.
- 29% admitted to feeling frequently lonely.
- 27% struggled to make ends meet.
Unum said that given this research, and the proposed legislation – which is expect to come into force later this year – it made since to alter its policy.
Unum’s HR director Jane Hulme emphasised the significance of this initiative, saying, “The difficulties and anxieties associated with caregiving lead to approximately 600 individuals leaving the UK workforce every day, as they find it increasingly challenging to strike a balance between their professional and caregiving obligations . It is crucial for employers to offer the necessary support to caregivers, both in their professional and personal lives, or at the very least guide them toward such resources. This will help more individuals stay in the workforce.”
“As the Carer’s Leave Act is set to take effect later this year, we take pride in introducing this proactive approach. We aim to support our caregiving employees through a combination of paid leave and flexible working options, while complementing our broader benefits package, which includes an Employee Assistance Programme featuring a 24/7 helpline offering comprehensive support, including childcare and eldercare assistance.”
“In essence, this policy will grant our employees more time to focus on their caregiving responsibilities, potentially alleviating some of the burdens and worries that unpaid carers often face. We believe that our enhanced policy will also play a pivotal role in enabling our staff to bring their true selves to work, fostering a workplace culture that prioritizes both well-being and contentment.”