33.1 All NHS employers must have a carer’s policy to address the needs of people with caring responsibilities and to meet the requirements of the ‘right to request’ flexible working legislation for carers of children and dependant adults (see Employment Relations Act for definition of ‘carer’). This policy should emphasise the benefits of flexible working arrangements, balancing work and personal life and employment breaks as set out in Section 34 to 36.
33.2 The policy should seek to balance the requirements of delivering a first-class service with the needs of employees, to find the most effective means of supporting those with carer responsibilities as part of a wider commitment by the NHS to improve the quality of working life.
33.3 Many of the policies related to child and dependant care will have relevance to other forms of care. For example, the planning process for checking out what would help eligibility criteria and ensuring equality of access. These should be considered when drawing up a carer’s policy.
Child and dependant care
33.4 Childcare covers a range of care choices for children from birth up to age 14 years.
33.5 Dependant care covers a range of options to meet the needs of dependant adults including the needs of dependant young people over the age of 14 where an employee is involved in substantial and regular care sufficient for them to seek a change in their permanent contract of employment.
33.6 The policy should be drawn up jointly between employers and local staff side representatives. This should cover:
- the child and dependant care needs of people relative to matters such as place of work, working patterns (including shift patterns) and hours worked;
- policy on child and dependant care support particularly related to specific difficulties in recruiting and retaining people in certain job categories;
- equality of access to child and dependant care and affordability, respecting the diversity of personal domestic circumstances;
- guidelines on eligibility;
- how the policy relates to other sections in this part, in particular those covering leave and flexible working arrangements;
- the range of options open to carers, i.e. crèche facilities, childminders, workplace nurseries, allowances, school and holiday play schemes, term-time contracts etc. The policy should be clear as to why certain options are available;
- partnership options with other employers and trades unions;
- allocation of senior management responsibility for the operation and monitoring of the policy.
33.7 Where a decision is taken not to offer particular forms of support, the policy should indicate where other arrangements are available to help people with caring responsibilities, and what alternative ways of working exist.
33.8 Applications and outcomes should be monitored annually, in partnership with local staff representatives.
33.9 Monitoring information should be analysed and used to review and revise policies and procedures to ensure their continuing effectiveness.
33.10 Applications and outcomes, from both employer and employees, should be recorded and kept for a minimum of one year.
Pay circular (AforC): 1/2012 amendment number 25