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Wales & West Housing, Finalist 2012, Best for Carers and Eldercare Award

Wales & West Housing has taken steps to ensure that employees who are carers are well and fairly treated. As they themselves say: “Supporting employees with caring responsibilities isn’t just an issue for liberal policy statements and formal procedures; it is a matter of ingrained cultural values.”

Managers are encouraged to be open and employees are encouraged to talk informally with their managers to discuss their caring issues: they have found that this approach often leads to pragmatic solutions being agreed between manager and employee to support the carer in a way that is best for them.

There are numerous examples of how this policy has worked for Wales & West Housing. Employees have been able to flex their work in a number of ways to enable them to meet both long- and short-term caring responsibilities. This includes being able to work from home or remotely, taking time off at short notice, having a period of flexibility to provide end-of-life care, as well as fundamental adjustments for an employee with a kinship care responsibility. All of these examples were agreed locally with the line manager and are evidence of an employee-initiated approach to caring and eldercare, rather than a top-down HR one.