Santander has introduced a new scheme which is designed to support all of its employees who have caring responsibilities outside work. Statistics have shown that within the overall UK workforce, an estimated one in seven people care for an older, sick or disabled family member or friend.

Following an analysis of the company’s own people, which revealed that Santander UK has a similar proportion of carers among its 25,000 employees, the company decided to establish a formal support structure for them.

Santander employees and their managers will have access to a range of practical support through an online portal, including guides, training programmes and a variety of consultancy services. These are being provided through Santander’s membership of Employers for Carers (EfC). EfC is an organisation which provides an advice service for employers and is supported by the charity Carers UK.

As well as training and advice, creating the appropriate work-life balance is vital for carers. Flexibility of working hours is one of the key issues facing those with responsibility for caring for others and Santander has ensured that all its employees can request a flexible working pattern.

Rachel Fayers, diversity and engagement manager at Santander UK, says: “Taking on caring responsibilities is not always something people can plan for and can impact anyone, at any time. As an inclusive employer, we want to make sure that we provide appropriate support to our employees to help them find ways to balance their work and caring responsibilities. We also want to be able to give our employees access to expert help and advice. We believe our membership with Employers for Carers will help us do this.”