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Centrica – Winner 2018, Carers UK Best for Carers and Eldercare Award

Centrica has been supporting employees with caring responsibilities since it founded its Carers Network in 2005. The network now has 1,000 members and Centrica offers paid Care Leave to help staff manage caring responsibilities and reduce stress in the workplace. 

Key points

  • 1000 employees registered with Centrica’s Carers’ Network. 
  • Up to one month paid care leave offered in addition to annual leave. 
  • Peer to peer support and networking opportunities to share experiences. 

Back in 2005, a survey of staff leaving Centrica showed eight to 10 per cent regretted doing so and cited caring responsibilities as the reason. Two thirds were women. 

In response, Centrica founded its Carers Network and began an on-going process to better understand what employees with caring responsibilities need to work well. 

The company now offers up to one month of matched care leave on full pay in addition to annual leave. This means if an employee needs five days off for caring responsibilities, they can take just 2.5 days of their annual leave entitlement and Centrica will match the remaining 2.5 days with care leave. 

Centrica now has 1,000 employees registered with its Carers Network. On average, carers use three days of care leave a year, proving it is a useful benefit for staff and not abused. 

Feedback from line managers shows that staff who have used care leave are more productive, adding weight to the business case for Centrica. 

The Carers Network allows for direct peer-to-peer support as well as networking opportunities for staff to share experiences. It also helps line managers by signposting resources they can use to support members of their team. 

The support has resulted in less stress for some employees with caring responsibilities and means they avoided taking time off sick. Mental health problems are the second largest cause of sickness absence for Centrica so proactive and supportive measures that reduce mental health issues make commercial sense. A well balanced and reflective workforce also allows Centrica to better understand its customers.   

We want to turn caring from an exception into the ordinary, and empower individuals to feel comfortable talking about it, and sharing their experiences with colleagues. We want to provide sustainable support and adapt as the needs and prevalence of carers in the organisation change and increase.

Geoff Kitchener, National Chair, Centrica Carers Network