Iarnród Éireann has announced a new partnership with Family Carers Ireland to provide supports and resources for colleagues nationwide who are balancing their jobs with caring responsibilities at home.
The number of people in the Irish workforce who currently juggle paid employment whilst caring for a loved one now stands at one in nine and is continuing to grow. This includes those providing care to children or adults with physical or intellectual disabilities, frail older people, those with palliative care needs or those living with chronic illnesses, mental ill-health, or addiction.
In response, the national charity supporting Ireland’s 500,000 + family carers has developed its ‘Caring Employers’ programme to provide practical supports and services shaped to work with the needs of businesses and employees. Iarnród Éireann is collaborating with Family Carers Ireland to create a bespoke programme of activity and policies to ensure that members of its team, who are also in caring roles at home, are recognised, supported, and accommodated in their professional career.
Jim Meade, CEO of Iarnród Éireann welcomed the announcement.
“We are delighted to be partnering with Family Carers Ireland because we are committed to supporting our colleagues with caring responsibilities. No one working in Iarnród Éireann should feel like they are on their own when trying to balance their day-to-day workload with providing care to a loved one. It is important to us that we continue to understand the needs of our employees and provide guidance to supports available to them," Mr Meade stated.
Catherine Cox, Head of Communications and Policy with Family Carers Ireland said that supporting family carers in the workplace has never been more important.
"There are over 250,000 people who are balancing paid work with caring for someone with additional needs. The increased stress caused by juggling work and caring responsibilities can have a significant impact on a person’s wellbeing and their performance at work if they are not adequately supported by their employers.
“Covid-19 and the move to a hybrid work model has shone a spotlight on all aspects of caring and the pressures faced by the growing number of people juggling work and care. It has been especially difficult for those unable to rely on supports such as day and respite services to do their job. Therefore, it is vital that employers provide practical supports to family carers who, for much of the last two years, have been under immense strain.
“We are really thrilled that Iarnród Éireann, as a leading employer in this country, is now offering increased support to its employees through our ‘Caring Employers’ programme. We urge other forward-thinking companies to follow their lead and ensure that adequate systems are in place to avoid losing valued employees," Ms Cox asserted.