BOSSES must do more to help workers who care for adult family members, said a Huddersfield businesswoman.
A new law coming into force tomorrow extends the right to flexible working to some employees who care for adult relatives.
But Fixby-based human resources consultant Judith Cork said employers should go further by helping staff prepare for the day when they have to start caring for an elderly parent or disabled relative.
Ms Cork said: "Every year, more than 2m people move in and out of caring roles and more than 3m juggle care with work.
"Many employees find themselves forced to give up work due to the lack of flexible employment."
Ms Cork said an ageing population with more people living longer meant more and more people were faced with these "tough, unpredictable and distressing events".
The burden of being a carer could affect an employee's health and performance at work, she said.
But she added: "Enlightened employers will recognise the business benefits of maintaining employee well-being and the importance of supporting carers and retaining their skills."
Judith Cork Consulting runs workshops to help workers adapt to life as carers and identify the warning signs of worsening health for people under stress as carers.
The workshops also highlight the support available from public and private bodies.
Government-backed public body Learndirect said the new law could bring business benefits.
Michelle Lofthouse, its director of business development, said: "The Work and Families Act might be viewed as another burden.
"But when weighed against the potential cost of loss of staff and productivity, it also offers advantages."
She said that employers were recognising the advantages of flexible working in recruiting and retaining women employees, who make up nearly half the workforce.