63% of businesses have seen a 'significant' or ‘small’ increase in female workers taking leave during the pandemic to fulfil caring duties, according to new research.

The study carried out by HR and Learning & Development group CIPD Ireland, reveals the impact caring responsibilities have had on parents and carers during lockdown.

40% of businesses reported a 'small' increase in men taking leave to meet caring responsibilities.

Almost half of the 400 people surveyed said they feel childcare or caring responsibilities would affect advancement in someone's career, while 79% said childcare or caring duties caused problems for remote workers.

Over 50% of firms said supervisors and managers have had to redistribute work among staff to facilitate caring issues in the workforce.

Mary Connaughton, Director of CIPD Ireland said the figures show the dilemmas facing families across the country.

"Carers and parents in this situation are caught between a rock and a hard place.

"The caring they need to do can get in the way of their job when they're working from home, but it also makes it more difficult for them to get back to the office or other workplace.

Ms Connaughton said employers need to show as much flexibility and consideration as they can.

"For now, we can hope the phased re-opening of schools will alleviate some of the pressure on families and the vaccine rollout will mean we don’t have to face a return to severe restrictions," she added.

CIPD Ireland's  annual HR Practices in Ireland survey was carried out in conjunction with the Kemmy Business School at University of Limerick.

The findings were published to coincide with CIPD Ireland's virtual awards ceremony which took place last night.

ESB picked up the top prize in the 'diversity and inclusion' category and was also named as having the HR/L&D team of the year, while the Property Registration Authority, received an award for its resourcing and talent management strategies.