Case study: Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service.
Employees who feel they have significant caring responsibilities can apply to join a carer register. 239 of 1708 staff (14 per cent) are on the register, with a further 209 having been included in the past. A welfare officer personally deals with requests and most applications are accepted.
Leave offered goes beyond statutory requirements; typically paid leave is one or two days to deal with an emergency or for medical appointments, but up to 6 months leave can be offered to someone who is caring for a terminally-ill dependent. The key support for employees is provided by line managers who are trained in understanding the needs of carers. Managers are encouraged to be flexible in managing those with caring issues, as it has been evidenced that this helps employees to make a positive contribution at work.
A carer contact team supports carers throughout the year. The team has produced a DVD which is available for senior managers and online. All employees are made aware of the carer register through induction training, at staff engagement events and via publicity materials. Members of the carer contact team and representatives from HR regularly attend external carer events to share best practice.
- The carer register offers a range of benefits including: Respite care scheme; Interest-free loans for specialist equipment; Access to phone package to support contact with the individual; Relocation support to meet the cost of home adaptations.
- The carer intranet page provides information and advice for all employees.
- Bi-annual carer conferences are supported by the CEO and enable best practice exchange.
- As a result of one conference, Powers of Attorney were funded for all staff.
- A Carers Contact Team provides ongoing support to carers throughout the year.
The Judges’ Spotlight
“Carers are clearly identified within the organisation and supported by a welfare officer. The organisation is proactive in its approach to carers and the issue is visible across the organisation. There are great benefits for employees and the strong employee case studies outlined the impact of these very clearly. There is a specific policy to support people dealing with a terminally-ill relative which is impressive. “
‘I am not sure that I can ever fully express the importance of the carers’ register to myself and my husband. Prior to joining the register I had been using my annual and flexi leave to attend the hospital with him. Now I am able to do this safe in the knowledge that this doesn’t put my job at risk.’