Is Your Workplace Care aware?

A quick look at ABS figures will confirm why organisations need to have in place a well-articulated ‘care culture’ to meet the needs of their workers. Caring impacts many different groups within the working population and workplaces with care cultures provide enhanced social inclusion and support, self-esteem, skill development, life satisfaction, income, health and respite for carers.


In Australia as of June 2012 (ABS 2012) there are 2.7 million carers and 3.2 million Australians (14% of population) aged 65 and over. Carers provide emotional support, may assist with tasks of daily living to a family member or friend who has a disability, mental illness, drug or alcohol dependency, chronic condition, terminal illness or is frail. An unpaid non-professional carer may be a parent, partner, brother, or sister, relative, friend or child of the person requiring care.


According to the Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers 2012 fifty-six percent of carers are female. In NSW alone there are 857,200 carers, 251,800 of whom are considered ‘primary carers’. A recent study of the economic value of the care provided by informal family carers nationally assessed that contribution to be some 1.9 billion hours annually. The replacement cost to the economy would be some $60.3 billion!


Over the next 30 years, as our population continues to age, the number of carers is expected to increase by 57%. In this same period, the number of people needing care is set rise by 160%. It’s not all about age though as the needs of those being cared for may start at birth, happen gradually (ageing, illness, disease) or suddenly (heart attach/stroke, accident, health crisis, death of current carer). This means that the caring required changes over time – in its intensity, length, level of support, type of care and responsibilities.


Workplaces with ‘care cultures’ attract and retain staff, reduce business costs, reduce staff stress, improves staff health ad morale, reduces sick leave and delivers on equality and inclusion. A care culture means that the carer feels comfortable telling their employer about their situation and where their employer supports work and care. This encourages higher wellbeing, more positive aspects of caring and lower psychological distress for carers. So does your organisation have the following in place?

  1. EMPLOYERS to create a supportive, inclusive care aware culture
  2. Carer inclusive practices like flexi-time, job sharing, remote working options
  3. Access to relevant information ad links to support services
  4. POLICY carers leave to be additional to allocated personal /sick leave
  5. Opportunity to return to work while continuing their caring role, or after their caring role has ended
  6. Flexible work policies that allow for the unpredictable nature of care
  7. PRACTICES educate co-workers to ensure understanding and support
  8. Provide time to access relevant information and links to support services
  9. Educate managers to be responsive and endorse the care culture of the organisation
  10. MANAGERS that are aware of and support carer needs
  11. To be able to disclose caring responsibilities without fear or prejudice
  12. Consistent compliance with supportive policies and procedures by managers/supervisors. 

Contact us if you would like more information or assistance to build a care culture in your workplace. 

susan whillas