Some of you may be aware that for the past 2 years the Disability and Carers staff network group have put in a great deal of work towards creating a policy to help support staff with caring responsibilities. The policy put forward by the network group was put together after consultation with the university Equality and Diversity department and staff in the network group on what would help them stay in work whilst also fulfilling their caring duties as well as looking at best practices from other organisations. After many conversations with HR about the policy it is with great disappointment that I have to report that the University will be publishing a policy that is very watered down compared to that proposed by the network group.
A key recommendation that was removed was giving carers an additional 5 days paid leave in order that they may carry out some of their caring responsibilities without having to take annual leave or a pay cut. Senior management said that the University is not in a position to agree anything that might cost resources despite having no evidence that this additional, optional, provision would cost any money or productivity at all.
The suggestions put forward would have been reasonable adjustments that wouldn’t have cost much, if anything, and would have made life a lot easier for some of our staff. Whilst I agree having something is better than nothing, the policy put forward by HR does very little to actually help carers any more than any other member of staff would be entitled to anyway. It is very disheartening to see senior management disregarding recommendations from their staff, although perhaps not surprising in light of the recent staff survey results.
Equality and Diversity co-ordinator