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Thousands lost in earnings as over 45s quit work to care for loved ones, new data shows

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More than a quarter of people (28%) aged 45-64 who are providing informal care for elderly family or friends say they have had to reduce their hours or stop working altogether, costing them thousands in lost earnings every year.

New research from retirement specialist Just Group found that 10% of those aged 45-64 who are currently providing informal care had given up work completely while nearly a fifth (18%) had reduced the hours they work. Fewer than half (48%) carried on in their job as normal.

Official figures show that the peak age for caring is 50-64, with one in five of those in this age group providing provide informal care totalling over 2 million people.

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The average loss in terms of lost income is £6,300 a year, but the amount increases with age, the new Just Group research shows. Among carers who have given up work or reduced hours to provide care, 45-54 year-olds are losing £109 a week (£5,656 annually), while those aged 55-64 are losing £133 a week (£6,911 annually).

Stephen Lowe, group communications director at retirement specialist Just Group, commented: “Tens of thousands of dedicated family members around the UK make significant sacrifices for their ageing relatives. This can be time and money in terms of lost income and other working benefits such as pension contributions.

“Would so many have to make these sacrifices if overdue care reforms had been implemented? Our research shows people are putting off making provisions for care because they are waiting for the long-promised ‘fix’ for social care – nearly three in 10 (29%) over 75s said that had not thought about or planned for care because they are waiting for clarity on policy3.

“It is unreasonable to expect people to make plans when they know the government is planning to move the goal posts. The pandemic must become a catalyst for change rather than an excuse to delay reforms. Many feel that care is too depressing to think about, so it needs to be made clear that the future is going to be more positive.”

The research was conducted by Opinium for Just Group on 2,003 UK adults aged 45-75 between 10th and 16th November, 2020.

Tags : informal careJust Groupunpaid carers
Sarah Clarke

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