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Carers at work - court case changes

It was a slow news day yesterday with no obvious top story, so the "top story" that I happened across in Nottingham perhaps didn't even make it onto other people's radar.

It concerns a lady who had to rush off from work from time to time because she's a carer. She felt that her employers weren't giving her due time / respect for those responsibilities, and were making discriminatory comments too, to the extent that she felt she had been constructively dismissed. And the big news is that she has just won her case in the European courts, who concluded that the same ground rules that apply to disabled people should apply to carers. The report went on to comment that there are around 6 million carers in this country, and many of them don't take employment because of the problems they have in sharing themselves between their employer and the person / people they look after.

I'm not a legal expect, I don't know the case, and in any case I've only seen it as seen through the eyes of one particular TV channel and its pundits. And on the show, they were casting it with a positive spin ... and yet, listening to the lady who had won the case talking, I found myself thinking "good for you and your Dad ... but pity your employer when you keep dashing off, and pity your employer's customers if you're in a customer facing role with no-one standing by to take over just in case". I came away from the watching the show ... not only reminded that carers need a gallon of consideration but also how - in the wrong role - a carer can provide a headache for an employer who needs to be certain that his roles are staffed.

Regular readers will know that I do a lot of campaigning work on public transport issues, so let me draw a comparison in that field. The driver of a train that's running from London to Bristol hears that his elderly Mum needs help as he approaches Chippenham. Oh well - "Mum comes first" now, so he hops out of the can when the train has pulled to a halt and jumps into the train going the other way, to get back up to Swindon where she lives. Me thinks there are going to be a lot of unhappy and delayed people - there won't be a spare driver, and I'm sure that the First group won't want to go back to having a driver and a second man in the cab who is qualified to take over in such an instance.

It effects us too at Well House Consultants and, yes, I know our staff will be reading it. We have several members of our little team who are carers, and depending on the person or people cared for that can effect to a varying degree. Indeed, I have been a working carer but 'only' at a minimum care needed level. In a customer service company such as ours, having people with caring experience is actually a huge plus - it means that they are very much more used to handling the personal relationships involved, the unplanned events (and perhaps crises). So we treasure them - but there are disbenefits too. We already have backup plans / people we can call on if we have to and we're currently strengthening our team and adding further robustness ... but as a 24 hour operation it's always going to be an issue if we loose our breakfast person unexpectedly at 07:15, or our check in person at 21:15 on Sunday night.

So I await to see what the effect of this court case - picked up by just a proportion of the media so far - is going to have on business and working life. And I wait with some trepidation, not really on the current work situation / team we have, but rather for the future where personell and situations change.
(written 2008-02-01, updated 2008-02-02)

 
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  [4735] Revisiting - should I stand for Melksham Without Parish Council in May? - (2017-02-24)
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  [4614] PC Plod - alive and scaremongering in Wiltshire? - (2016-01-04)
  [4597] Not standing as your local councillor - (2015-12-18)
  [4548] Melksham - two small townships, or one big one? - (2015-10-22)
  [4489] Election results - what if we had a party list system? - (2015-05-08)
  [4485] Misusing statistics? - the seedy side of election campaigning - (2015-05-04)
  [4476] Upcoming election - Chippenham Constituency - the major candidates compared - (2015-04-29)
  [4354] Wiltshire Police - assuming someone is guilty just on the say-so of a member of the public? - (2014-12-16)
  [4343] Politics and the railway the connects Wiltshire - (2014-12-06)
  [4286] Reaction in Radstock to new First bus prices - (2014-07-12)
  [4275] Eurpoean Elections, and other elections ahead. Some thoughts on campaigns and policies - (2014-05-08)
  [4223] Democracy - alive and well with the beauty pagent starting up again - (2013-12-16)
  [4079] Melksham Area - Unitary Council results, May 2013 - (2013-05-04)
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  [3905] How should we choose our Wiltshire Police and Crime Commissioner? - (2012-10-27)
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  [2792] Should Government compete with private industry? - (2010-06-03)
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  [2288] Wiltshire Community Area Partnerships - (2009-07-15)
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  [2270] Wiltshire - a chance to improve life for everybody - (2009-07-05)
  [2257] Ramblings on church and state linkage in Melksham - (2009-06-25)
  [2206] Spot the odd one out - (2009-05-29)
  [2178] Melksham Candidates for Wiltshire Unitary Election - (2009-05-12)
  [2075] Supporting Parkinsons and Trains - (2009-03-11)
  [2028] Things people say on the phone - (2009-02-06)
  [2012] The Wiltshire Police - (2009-01-29)
  [1987] One Cheer for Local Democracy - Asda in Melksham - (2009-01-11)
  [1882] Wiltshire Council says - part 2 - (2008-11-14)
  [1881] Wiltshire Council says - part 1 - (2008-11-13)
  [1872] Barack Obama wins US Predidency - (2008-11-05)
  [1769] July child ponders on August children - (2008-08-23)
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  [1260] An inspirational business talk from one of our prospective MPs - (2007-07-06)
  [1247] An afternoon at a public enquiry - (2007-06-27)
  [1175] Local elections - choosing who to vote for - (2007-05-03)
  [1135] Government pressure on me to shut up after I make the papers - (2007-04-05)
  [1109] False imprisonment - a contrast from the news - (2007-03-15)
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  [257] Politics gets nasty. Must be an election coming up. - (2005-03-25)
  [216] Cheap purchase - votes paid for with selfish promises - (2005-02-15)


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This is a page archived from The Horse's Mouth at http://www.wellho.net/horse/ - the diary and writings of Graham Ellis. Every attempt was made to provide current information at the time the page was written, but things do move forward in our business - new software releases, price changes, new techniques. Please check back via our main site for current courses, prices, versions, etc - any mention of a price in "The Horse's Mouth" cannot be taken as an offer to supply at that price.

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