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- PublicationSubmission to the Department of Justice and Equality Public Consultation on Flexible WorkingAs part of Future Jobs Ireland, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, and Minister of State David Stanton TD, launched a public consultation on flexible working to inform the development of a national flexible working policy. The consultation is seeking the views of employees, employers, trade unions and the general public to help inform the future employment policy. In the face of changing demographics and an aging population, the provision of flexible work arrangements is becoming an increasingly pertinent issue for family carers who balance paid work with caregiving responsibilities for a person with a disability, chronic illness or frailty. This submission, by the CAREWELL team, aims to highlight the importance of flexible working options for these family carers.
- PublicationColliding worlds: Family carers’ experiences of balancing work and care in Ireland during the COVID‐19 pandemicThe COVID-19 pandemic public health and social protective measures imposed globally resulted in partial or full closure of key services and supports for people with a disability, chronic illness or age-related dependency. This caused huge disruption to care provision and family carers were relied upon to assume this care at home. Many family carers, including those in employment, found themselves navigating additional care responsibilities without ‘usual levels’ of support from family, friends, work, school, day care services, homecare and community services. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on family carers, their employment and caregiving responsibilities, through the lens of the Conservation of Resources (COR) theory (Hobfoll, 1989). Adopting a qualitative research approach, sixteen family carers (14 females, 2 males) who were in employment prior to the onset of or during the pandemic, participated in an in-depth, semi-structured telephone or online video interview between June and September 2020. Interviews lasted between 45 and 100 minutes, were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. A thematic analysis of the interview data identified four main themes: colliding worlds; navigating unchartered waters alone; opportunity despite adversity; and the relentless unknowing. Findings indicate that the onset of the pandemic resulted in the sudden loss of valued resources, which disrupted routines and caused care and work life domains to become intrinsically intertwined. Consistent with the main principles of the COR theory, adapting and transitioning to different ways of working and caring with depleted resources and supports, generated considerable stress for family carers and impacted their wellbeing. The implications for employers, healthcare providers, policy makers and other key stakeholders are considered, to enable family carers to successfully reconcile work with care and protect their wellbeing, as the pandemic continues to unfold and in the event of future societal crises.
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