One in seven people who spend 50 hours or more a week caring for a relative also holds down a full-time job.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that there are 104,683 unpaid carers living in Birmingham.

Of those, 28,258 spend 50 hours or more a week caring for children or a family member who - due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction - cannot cope without their support.

Despite that, 7,141 of them also have a job - and 4,014 are working full-time.

That means 14% of full-time carers also have a full-time job - and are effectively putting in at least a 90-hour week.

 

Emily Holzhausen, director of policy and public affairs at Carers UK, said: ‘The sheer numbers of people who are in full time work and providing unpaid care of over 50 hours per week to older, disabled or ill relatives and friends are staggering and many will be under pressure juggling so much.  

“They often feel they are always on duty, doing a 90+ hour week, only half of which is paid work. 

“They can find it really hard to get a break and recharge their batteries and providing so much care can affect their health, wellbeing, relationships and their ability to work in the future.

“We find that flexible and supportive employers that also provide paid care leave on top of annual leave can make a huge difference.

“Whether a large or small employer, the line manager is also critical.  

“Many carers say that this kind of supportive environment allowed them to stay in work for longer- avoiding the financial hit of giving up work to care.  

“Positive employers also demonstrate that carers are less stressed at work, have increased loyalty and retention is improved.

“Good quality affordable care and joined up services are also essential and not always easy to find.  

“Working carers say these are the other critical elements to help them stay in work.”

 

A further 4,900 people in Birmingham who spend 20-49 hours a week caring also have a full-time job (28% of the total), as do 24,651 people who care for 1-19 hours a week (42%).

The figures come as a new report from the ONS has said that older workers in particular will increasingly have caring responsibilities.

As our population ages, there will be increased need for informal care, but there is also a need for older people to stay in the workforce longer.

The result is that people in their 50s and 60s - already the most common age group for carers - will be even more likely to be caring for a parent or grandchild while also managing full-time work.

In particular, this burden is likely to fall on women, who already shoulder the majority of unpaid care.