We’re marking Carers Week across the railway.
Carers Week – 5 to 9 June – aims to raise awareness of caring, highlight the challenges carers face, and recognise the contribution carers make to families and communities across the UK.
One in seven people in the workplace is a carer, according to charity CarersWeek. They look after a friend or family member with a disability, physical illness or who needs more help in old age.
And the number is rising, according to Carers UK. An estimated 12,000 people in the UK become carers every day – that’s roughly 500 people every hour, and eight people a minute.
Helping Carers flourish
Care is our employee network for staff with caring responsibilities. It’s one of eight employee networks at Network Rail and aims to support carers, value their work and promote an empathetic culture.
Caitriona O’Brien, a workforce health, safety and environment adviser at Network Rail and co-chair of Care, said: “We work to make sure that Network Rail is a company that not just facilitates carers to stay in work but tries to make sure that they have a good work-life balance and a rewarding career.”
Care has 425 members – a big jump from 180 members just four years ago. For Carers Week 2023, it will host several events, talks and workshops across different Network Rail sites and virtually to raise more awareness and support.
Care and Network Rail organise and provide several resources. For example, the Carer Passport is a support tool Care put together for employees to use when discussing their caring responsibilities.
Amanda, a route services analyst at Network Rail, said: “[It] really helped to guide some constructive conversations with my manager. It included some links to flexible working, which I then applied for.”
Thanks to our work with Care, Network Rail was awarded the Carer Confident Level 1 Active accreditation
in 2021 for our efforts to support employees with caring responsibilities in England. We also received the Scottish equivalent of this award and are accredited as Carer Positive Employer Level Engaged 1 Carer Positive Employer Level Engaged
Care often collaborates with other employee networks and external organisations. For instance, this Carers Week, Care will take part in a talk hosted by Inspire – our employee network aimed at gender equality – to discuss supporting female employees with caring responsibilities.
In March, as part of Neurodiversity Celebration Week, Care took part in a panel alongside two other employee networks: Inspire and Can Do, to discuss supporting women with ADHD in the workplace.
We are proud to work with Care as a diverse and inclusive employer.