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The intersection of employment and care: evidence from a UK case study

Working carers are a key focus of UK policies on health and social care and employment. Complementing national and European evidence, this paper presents a local case study of working carers. It draws on data from a county-wide survey containing a module on caring. Data were primarily categorical and were analysed using SPSS. Three quarters of all carers who responded to the survey were of working age: two thirds were employed and one third had been employed previously. The majority of working carers were mid-life extra-resident women. Over half of cared for relatives were elderly parents/in law; ‘physical illness’ was the primary cause of dependency. A tenth provided intensive care and half reported that caring adversely affected their health. Both were triggers for leaving employment. Two thirds of households received input from services and/or friends/family; being a co-resident carer appeared to mitigate against service allocation. Four issues were identified as pivotal to facilitating employment: access to advice and information, the availability of a matrix of affordable good-quality social-care services, ‘joined up’ needs assessment of the carer and cared for person, and employers identifying carers in their workforce. Europe's ageing profile underscores the study's timeliness.

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European Journal of Social Work

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