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Employers need to do more to meet challenges of the working population

Despite new levels of funding being promised by the Government, a report by Aon highlights that one in six UK workers will balance their jobs with caring responsibilities by 2040. Even the most far-reaching legislative proposals will fall short of fully meeting this growing challenge, meaning employers will need to do more.

The UK Government’s social care reforms discussed in the Autumn Budget will still fall short of filling the gap to cover costs for necessary social care, according to Aon plc (NYSE: AON), a leading global professional services firm.

In raising £12 billion a year by increasing national insurance by 1.25 percentage points from employers and employees, the UK Government intends to address both the NHS backlog created by the COVID-19 pandemic and the social care system. The social care system will receive £5.4 billion over the next three years, with more to be provided afterwards.

Mark Witte, head of health and risk consulting, Health Solutions UK at Aon, said:

“These reforms are shining a spotlight on an issue that has perhaps been considered a lower priority for many years. However, even the most far-reaching legislative proposals will still fall short of fully meeting this growing challenge. The unfortunate impact is likely to fall squarely with employers and employees”.

Are cent report*, “The Aging Population: Why it’s time to take notice”, a number of key issues were highlighted: one in six UK workers will balance their job with caring responsibilities by 2040[i], unpaid carers provide approximately £132 billion worth of care each year[ii] and 2.6 million people have given up working altogether to provide care, a 12% increase from 2013[iii]. This data shows that even with new levels of funding being promised by the Government, and recognising some of the caps and limitations on the levels of support available, there will be millions of UK workers underserved.

Employees shouldering a burden of care struggle with all aspects of their wellbeing. This can have an adverse impact on business performance in terms of low engagement, increased absence, higher levels of presenteeism, loss of productivity and increased staff turnover.

Aon’s Witte highlighted areas for employers to help increase the resiliency of their workforce and mitigate business risk:

“Employers will see value in reviewing their internal policies, as well as the support and advice available to carers. This should extend to an assessment of new solutions including helping carers meet the cost of care, as well as technology aimed at decreasing the strain and helping loved ones stay in their home for as long as possible. The eco-system of strategies and benefits aimed at meeting challenges arising from an aging population continues to evolve, and we can expect rapid developments as employers seek to make better decisions that support their employees.”

Aon report: The Aging Population: Why it’s time to take notice”

[i] Carers UK: Caring Behind Closed Doors, October 2020

[ii] https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmcomloc/768/768.pdf

[iii] Carers UK: Caring Behind Closed Doors, October 2020

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    21 April 2024

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