Carers Week 2021 marks the fourth anniversary of Wales & West Utilities carers policy.

One of the first of the kind in the energy industry, it allows colleagues to work flexibly so that they can look after their loved ones without having to worry about pressures from work whilst carrying out unpaid caring duties. The policy includes a Carers Passport, which provides carers, and their line managers with information about how the individual’s responsibilities impact their work and has been designed to support discussions around removing any barriers and maximising the potential of everyone in the workplace. This has been particularly important during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Carers Week is brought to life by individuals, groups and organisations coming together from around the UK. Carers Week is a time to commend and celebrate unpaid carers’ contributions and highlight the continued challenges they face – be that young children, a family member or friend who has a disability, mental or physical illness, or someone who needs extra help as they grow older.

Caring responsibilities can have a substantial impact on colleagues – and as an employer we’re committed to supporting our colleagues’ wellbeing at home and in work. We hope that the Carers Passport, which sets out what support carers can get and where they can get it from, can help our colleagues to meet their caring commitments alongside working healthily and productively.

In the shadow of Coronavirus, carers are under more pressure than ever, and they need extra support. It’s time to come together and help Make Caring Visible and Valued.

To find out how colleagues have benefitted from the Carers Passport and policy, you can read a selection of case studies here.

At Wales & West Utilities, I’m proud of our approach to supporting our colleagues who care for others. We were one of the first utility companies to make a carers policy with a ‘Carers Passport’ available for colleagues. 

We recognise as a company as well that not all caring responsibilities are long term either, and the type of care needed varies as well. Often people think that caring just entails looking after elderly relatives or children , but those responsibilities are much more diverse: situations like separation, bereavement or illness can cause temporary upheaval in all our lives. Our Carers Passport and policy is designed to be flexible, supporting our colleagues in any way we can.

So we’re proud to celebrate Carers Week and are committed to helping to Make Caring Visible and Valued this week and beyond.

Sarah Hopkins, Wales & West Utilities People & Engagement Director