Nearly a million UK workers are ‘hidden carers’

Almost a million UK workers could be secretly juggling carer responsibilities with their jobs. This is because they are nervous about telling employers and colleagues in case they think they’re not fulfilling their role at work.

That’s according to a new study by insurer Aviva, which has found that more than one in five (22%) haven’t told their employer about their caring commitments reveals today.

The survey of more than 1,000 employed UK adults looked at those who have a variety of caring duties at home, from looking after older relatives to partners and children with disabilities. It found that just less than 20 per cent had only told selected trusted colleagues about their caring duties.

‘Hidden carers’

This was because they didn’t want their employer or colleagues to think they weren’t up to the job and fulfilling their role at work, said more than a quarter of what the report calls ‘hidden carers’.

Nearly one in 10 (8%) said they were worried that they might lose their jobs, while the same proportion (8%) were concerned their carer duties would affect their career prospects.

How many people in the UK are carers?

By 2030, the number of carers in the UK is expected to increase by 3.4 million (around 60%) to 9 million. There are already 4.27 million carers of working age living in the UK; 2.44 million (57%) of these are women and 1.83 million (43%) are men and nearly one in eight UK workers is also a carer.

Every year over 2.1 million UK adults become carers and almost as many people find that their caring responsibilities come to an end. This ‘turnover’ means that caring will touch the lives of most of the population, say the report authors.

Respondents to the Aviva study also said they devoted 10 hours a week on average to supporting the people they care for, although around a third of respondents spend longer than this.

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