Nearly 1,000 University of Glasgow employees identify as carers, according to a University survey.
A new University of Glasgow policy gives emergency time off and additional short term leave to staff with caring responsibilities.
“Supporting Staff with Caring Responsibilities” was announced on 13 January following a 2018 staff survey which found almost 1,000 University employees had some form of caring responsibility to "look after or give help or support to family members, friends, neighbours or others who have a long-term physical or mental illness or disability, or problems related to old age."
The policy allows eligible staff to request up to three days paid "Emergency Time Off to Care for Dependants" leave and up to five days paid "Carers' Leave". Staff who request Carers' Leave then have up to four weeks unpaid leave.
The policy defines a dependent as a spouse, partner, parent, parent-in-law, grandparent, civil partner, disabled child, anyone in the employee's family or anyone for whom the employee holds power of attorney. Caring responsibilities include, but are not limited to: helping with personal care, helping with mobility, managing medication, carrying out practical household tasks, providing emotional support and helping with financial matters.
Peter Aitchison, Director of Communications and Public Affairs, has caring responsibilities for his adult son, David, who is deaf, mute and has other disabilities including mobility problems.
Aitchison said there is no weakness in being identified as a carer, and thinks it is a considerable strength. He is glad there is a policy that not only recognises staff as carers, but also provides additional support if someone needs it. This support includes a Flexible Working Policy, which allows carers to work hours better suited for their schedule as agreed upon by the University.
Aitchison said: "Now as the Comms guy, I understand that the University comes in for a lot of criticism and doesn't get things right all the time, but as regards to this Carers' Policy, as far as I'm concerned, it is a major step forward and it is an act of caring itself from the University to colleagues."
Anyone who has a caring responsibility can opt in to the "Carers' Register" on CORE by accessing "my profile", "diversity", "background" and marking "yes" when asked "are you a carer?" The process is completely confidential.