Work - life imbalance: informal care and paid employment in the UK
In the United Kingdom, informal carers look after relatives or friends who need extra support because of age, physical or learning disability, or illness. The burden of informal care work falls on women, who often care for longer hours and durations than men. This paper considers the impact that caring responsibilities have on women’s employment. The research is based on a dedicated questionnaire and in-depth interviews with informal caregivers. The results suggest that carers’ employment is affected by the duration of a caring episode, financial considerations, the needs of the person they care for, carers’ beliefs about the compatibility of informal care and paid work, and employers’ willingness to accommodate carers’ needs. Overall, the research confirms that informal carers continue to face difficulties when they try to combine employment and care in spite of recent policy initiatives designed to help them.
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