Supporting the Carers

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2005 National Women's Conference
21 October 2004

More action from both the government and employers is needed to help families balance work and caring responsibilities. the UK has an ageing population, a falling birth rate and increasing family breakdown. These factors, aswell as lesser mobility, leads to a loss of family networks for many.

This means that more often women are simultaneously responsible for the caring of children and elders, whilst trying to work in the labour market. Over 40 per cent of mothers and 20 per cent of carers have either given up or turned down a job because of the difficulties in combining it with their caring responsibilities. Women are having children later in life and are being encouraged to return to work, especially nurses within the NHS. This can cause real problems if either their child or elderly parent is sick. There needs to be better provision for emergency situations instead of using sick leave as often happens at the present time.

Women are also five times more likely to work part-time than men but such opportunities are concentrated in low paid, low status work with implications for their job security, job satisfaction and pensions. Women are having to work longer now than ever before.

Conference instructs the National Women’s Committee to:

1) submit recommendations to the Women and Work Commission that they address this problem for women workers who are carers;

2) seek to work with Labour Link to encourage the government to provide assistance in these areas;

3) submit recommendations to the Women and Work Commission to negotiate nationally for paid leave for carers with employers on an emergency basis.