Pictured at the launch are, from left, Adam Flanagan, Senior HR Business Partner, Department of Public Expenditure, NDP Delivery and Reform; Emma Gibson, Senior HR Business Partner; Joanne Murphy, Executive Officer; David Moloney, Secretary General; Catherine Cox, Head of Communications and Policy with Family Carers Ireland; John Dunne, CEO Family Carers Ireland; and Amy Burke, Senior HR Business Partner. PHOTO: Mark Stedman
Tuesday 7th February 2023: The Department of Public Expenditure, NDP Delivery and Reform has today announced a new partnership with national charity Family Carers Ireland to provide a suite of practical supports and resources for their staff who balance work with caring responsibilities at home.
A survey of the Department’s employees by Family Carers Ireland found that nearly two-thirds (62%) of respondents self-identified as a family carer. This is much greater than the national average of one in nine people (250,000) in the Irish workforce who care for a loved one. This includes those providing care to children or adults with additional needs, physical or intellectual disabilities, frail older people, those with palliative care needs or those living with chronic illnesses, mental health challenges or addiction.
Juggling work, care and other responsibilities can be a challenge, with almost 18% of respondents from the Department saying they find it difficult to achieve a balance.
Family Carers Ireland, the national charity supporting Ireland’s 500,000+ family carers, recognised this issue and in response developed its ‘Caring Employers’ programme which provides bespoke supports and services shaped to work with the needs of each organisation and their employees.
The Department is collaborating with Family Carers Ireland to develop best practice recommendations for a carer-friendly workplace to ensure that staff, who are also in caring roles at home, are recognised, supported and accommodated in their professional careers.
Minister for Public Expenditure, NDP Delivery and Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD said: “My Department is responsible for driving reform and innovation across the civil and public service. I welcome this partnership with Family Carers Ireland as a tangible demonstration of our commitment to providing inclusive leadership in building the workplace of the future.”
Secretary General David Moloney said: “We are delighted to partner with Family Carers Ireland on this programme which will provide a valuable resource to our colleagues and friends who are in caring roles. We can see from the initial survey that there is a substantial number of people within the Department who are balancing their roles here with their caring responsibilities and we are committed to supporting them. It is important to us that we listen to our employees and help provide them with the guidance and assistance they require.”
Micheál Mac Donnchadha, Department staff member said: “I’m very happy that the Department has signed up to the Caring Employers Programme. We are all likely to have responsibilities managing or planning the care for others at some point in our lives. The session and information provided by Family Carers Ireland so far has been invaluable to me and it's reassuring to know that I have an employer who will support me.”
Catherine Cox, Head of Communications and Policy with Family Carers Ireland, said: “At Family Carers Ireland, we want to keep family carers in paid employment, so they avoid isolation and the dangers of falling off a financial cliff which can arise when having to give up work. We estimate that one in five people will be in a caring role by 2030 and we see from our survey that over 80% of respondents in the Department felt that it is likely or very likely that they will be in a caring role within the next five years. Now is the time to future-proof workforces and not only acknowledge current caring employees who need support, but educate those who anticipate becoming family carers. In these instances, many feel the only option is to leave their jobs. The business case for employers to support family carers centres on the merits of retaining valued employees and avoiding the costs and disruption of recruiting replacements. We are excited to work with Department of Public Expenditure, NDP Delivery and Reform and support their caring cohort over the coming months and years.”
The Department of Public Expenditure, NDP Delivery and Reform joins Irish Life, Irish Rail, Bank of Ireland, SETU (Carlow and Waterford) as members of the Caring Employers programme, with more coming on board in the coming months.