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Bosses struggle with absent “sandwich generation”

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Bosses may be generally supportive of maintaining a healthy work-life balance for staff, but how to cope with employees who are expected to be in three places at once – at work, at home with the children and looking after their parents?

According to a survey from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), more than one in three employers reported absence levels have increased because staff are struggling to cope with their caring responsibilities outside of work.

The survey, which polled 518 organisations across the UK in reference to 1.4 million employees, also found 14% of employers said these growing responsibilities have had an impact on the organisation.

“Supporting those with caring responsibilities to balance their work and home lives, and therefore retaining our talent, is a key issue,” Dr. Jill Miller, CIPD research adviser, said in a press release.

“And this is an issue that is set to increase for the growing ‘sandwich generation.’  As people have children later, and are looking after parents in the ageing Baby Boomer generation, they find themselves caring for both their children and their older relatives.”

However, only one in six companies polled reported they have a specific policy or guidelines for supporting employees who are carers. An additional two-fifths reported that decisions regarding support are made on an individual basis.

The report also highlighted the most common type of support provided to employees who are carers is flexible working (68%). This was followed by compassionate leave (53%) or (paid or unpaid) carers’ leave (48%).

However, most (70%) employers believe it is possible to reduce employee absence, particularly in the public sector (82%) where absence levels are highest.

Half of those who believed it is possible to reduce absence have a target in place to do so, according to the report.

Image: Shutterstock

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