A Call to Care: Highlighting the need for inclusive employment practices for carers

GMCVO has published ‘A Call to Care’, a report evaluating the Caring, Working, Living project led by GMCVO and its potential impact on the employment and policy landscape in Greater Manchester (GM) for carers.

Unpaid caring labour is essential to sustaining day-to-day life, it is mostly done by women (58% of all unpaid care is done by women according to Carers Week 2020 Research Report) and at present is unrecognised and undervalued by policy makers. These facts, whilst previously known, have had a spotlight shone on them by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Currently, within GM’s core strategies for quality work, there is no explicit mention of the need to improve the position of those with caring responsibilities in the labour market.

The Carers Charter (2018) and the Working Carer Toolkit (2019) signal recognition of the need to make employment in the city-region more inclusive for people with caring responsibilities. However, this thinking is yet to translate into GM’s core policy priorities.

‘Call to Care’ collates the data that is currently known about the volume of unpaid carers in GM and highlights the gaps in this data that have contributed to the exclusion of carers from current employment policy in the region. This report proposes that this presents an opportunity for policy makers to make informed decisions and appropriate responses.

This report recognises that much work has been done by various bodies in GM to develop a more inclusive employment landscape. This includes the Flexible Working Standard in the GM Good Employment Charter and the Caring, Working, Living project contributed toolkits for employers to support them achieving this Standard.  

However, research for this report undertaken with many of these bodies including the GM Good Employment Charter; the Department of Work and Pensions; and the GM Combined Authority, highlights the issue that unpaid carers are not explicitly recognised in current policy such as the Local Industrial Strategy or the Good Employment Charter.  

Looking ahead, as we enter more lockdown measures and government schemes are in the balance, the true economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak will become visible. Decision makers must recognise the impact on informal carers and parents to prevent further hardship for those excluded from the labour market, and their families.

Finally, this report examines the relationship between identifying and addressing the needs of informal carers seeking to return to paid employment, and achieving GM’s commitment to achieving good quality employment for all, and a place where everyone can reach their potential.  

Read the report here.

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