Research conducted by the provider found that 43 per cent of EBCs support the idea of new rights to paid short-term leave in employment contracts to help workers who are carers for elderly relatives.
A third of consultants – 33 per cent – want the group risk industry to develop specific benefits for workers with caring obligations.
In November 2016, former pensions minister Baroness Ros Altmann called for the Government to tackle the elderly care crisis by introducing ‘elderly care vouchers’, a new Care Isa and employer care savings plans. Busy Bees has also been calling on ministers to adopt a support system for elder care.
The MetLife study found 60 per cent believe increased use of working from home and flexible working options would be important in helping the 3 million employees juggling caring with full-time work. Experts warn that the numbers balancing caring responsibilities with work could grow to 9 million over the next 20 years.
MetLife’s report, A Behavioural Approach to Employee Financial Wellness, argues employers can support staff suffering financial stress and balancing caring responsibilities with full-time work by engaging with benefit providers to design financial wellbeing programmes and outlines the business case for helping employees to be engaged and satisfied at work.
The research found that 27 per cent believe employers should offer financial help to employees with caring responsibilities.
MetLife UK employee benefits director Adrian Matthews says: “More than 3 million employees already balance work with looking after elderly relatives and that number will only grow as the population ages.
“There is a potential cost for employers if staff need to take time off or even have to give up work. Making changes now so that employees know there is support available may prove invaluable in the long-run. Our research shows employee benefits are increasingly valued by staff and providing the option of support for caring responsibilities would enhance that.
“The group risk industry can support employers and employees and look at new products or additions which can help address the issue. Employee assistance programmes providing counselling are a step in the right direction and ideas highlighted by EBCs could be considered.”