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Supporting Staff who are Carers: Guidance for Managers


Supporting staff that also look after or support someone when they are not in work is important. If a member of staff is looking after or supporting someone, this suggests they are a carer. It is important for line managers to understand how caring for someone can have an impact on wellbeing and they ensure appropriate supports are put in place to maintain the health and wellbeing of the carer. This will also ensure staff, who are carers, can continue to work if they wish to do so. There are many ways line managers can ensure a supportive working environment for carers. This does not necessarily require big changes within the workplace, it can be small adjustments which can make a big difference.

Identifying staff who are carers

To be able to identify staff, who are also a carer, it is important to have a clear definition. The NHSGGC Special Leave policy defines Carer Leave as being required 'where employees are responsible for caring for a family member, dependent or close friend' and, as a result 'work and home life can cause conflicting pressures.'

Many carers do not identify themselves as a carer, they may describe themselves as ‘looking after’ or ‘supporting’ someone. Many do not think about informing their line manager that they are a carer. Although the aim is a supportive working environment where carers feel comfortable to inform their line manager that they are a carer, it is important to recognise that it is the staff member’s choice whether they disclose this.

Line managers might be aware of family circumstances that might suggest that the member of staff is also looking after or supporting someone. Think about opportunities when you could have a conversation with the staff member, for example at one to one meetings. Here are some suggestions that managers can use to start a conversation:

  • How are things with you, you seem a bit more tired these days?
  • Is there anything I can do to support you, I know you have been through a difficult time recently?
  • You seem to cope well with everything that has happened to you, is there anything I can help you with?

Supporting Carers in the workplace

1. Supportive NHSGGC Policies

As a line manager you should familiarise yourself with the flexible working and special leave policies. All policies are available on HR Connect

For further advice on HR policies, contact the HR Support and Advice Unit Telephone: 0141 278 2700 or email at [email protected]

2. Practical support

In addition, supporting carers within the workplace is not always about changing working hours. There are practical and often small changes than can make a difference in the workplace. Here are some suggestions that might help:

  • Telephone access: providing private access to a telephone or allowing an employee to keep their mobile phone on in case they need to respond to an emergency. Staff are encouraged to provide work telephone numbers to dependents in some clinical areas where mobile phones are not permitted.
  • Health and Wellbeing Support: There are a lot of support services for carers, it would be helpful if managers are aware of what is available for their staff. Display posters which promote carer support services within the workplace. These are available from the Public Health Resource Directory. There is also a one stop shop, on Staffnet, which provides health and wellbeing information for NHSGGC staff, this is available here Staff health. Occupational Health can provide support to staff if their own health is impacted.

3. Carer Support Services

There are dedicated support services across Greater Glasgow and Clyde area and further afield. These services provide practical and emotional support for  carers, they understand what it means to be a carer. The support these services provide can also help the person they look after.

Telephone: Carers Information Line 0141 353 6504

Email: [email protected]


or to find you local service on-line.

Support & Information Service on the ground floor of the New Victoria and New Stobhill Hospitals and the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

Telephone: 0141 452 2387

Email: [email protected]