Working carers of children and parents are at breaking point

‘Sandwich carers’, those people who look after children and their relatives alongside work, are struggling to cope with the burden of juggling caring responsibilities alongside their job. Around 1.3 million people in the UK now fall into this category and new research from BHSF claims that many are at breaking point. 44 percent said they often find managing their responsibilities hard – with 16 percent admitting that it’s always too much to cope with.

Despite the growing changes in gender roles, it’s female workers who are feeling the strain more than their male counterparts. 19 percent of women said they always struggle to cope, compared to just 11 percent of men.

But it’s younger employees who are feeling the strain the most, the study claims. A quarter (26 percent) of those aged 25 to 34 said that the demand of juggling their caring responsibilities and their job is always too much to cope with. As younger employees often have more junior roles, the lack of flexibility to work from home or change their hours could make it more difficult to balance their responsibilities. Although startling, these figures show that the issue can affect employees of all ages – not just those in their 40s and 50s.

The research also highlighted the dramatic impact these caring responsibilities are having on the health of sandwich carers. 52 percent said it has affected their physical health, and 47 percent revealed it’s had an impact on their mental health. These employees are in desperate need of support from their employers to manage their situation and still be productive in work.

Last year the UK’s Work and Pensions committee issued a call for more support from employers for the carers in the workforce. This included proposals to make the right to request flexible working available from an employee’s first day.