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Employment support for carers

It is estimated that around 6 million adults in Britain are providing unpaid care to a sick, disabled or elderly person. The challenges of combining paid work and informal care affect the type of work that can be done, the hours of work, and the likelihood of gaining or remaining in employment. The main aims of this research were to examine what employment supports are needed for carers currently in work or those who are currently caring or have recently ended a spell of caring and want to return to paid employment. In-depth semi-structured interviews were held with 55 carers, both working and non-working, in Scotland and England during 2008. The interviews collected qualitative data relating to carers’ support needs and their experiences of different agencies and support providers. The report discusses: the roles and impact of being a carer; how caring responsibilities affect people’s decisions about employment; the role of employers; the role and effectiveness of informal and formal sources of support for carers; and the role of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Jobcentre Plus in supporting carers to remain in, or return to, the labour market. Policy implications are provided for the DWP, employers, NHS and social services, and the voluntary sector.

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