ISO publishes its first standard for Ageing Societies

ISO publishes its first standard for Ageing Societies

By Jeanne Bank, Allison Williams


ISO 25551 - General requirements and guidelines for carer-inclusive organizations has recently been published. This is the first document to be published by ISO Technical Committee 314. Coming soon will be two more new standards – one on age-inclusive workplaces and one on dementia friendly communities.

As the world ages, more unpaid care is required by family, friends and neighbours; currently 349 million people worldwide are estimated to be depending on care, with 101 million of these 60 years of age and older (WHO, 2017). This growing number of unpaid carers can have difficulties balancing their caring role with work responsibilities. However, few employers have established policies and programs to support these working carers. The lack of workplace supports can lead to a range of negative employee consequences which increase costs to employers; these include mental and physical health problems, reduced productivity, increased absenteeism and presenteeism, and employees exiting the workforce altogether.


Key Features

ISO 25551 provides guidelines for, and outlines a process for, the development of supportive policies and actions to achieve a carer-inclusive workplace.  A carer-inclusive workplace has the potential of adding value for organizations/employers, carer-workers, other workers, communities and a wide range of associated stakeholders. While each workplace is different, and organizations will need to tailor their carer-friendly workplace programs to fit the needs of their workforce and industry, this new global Standard provides a set of guiding principles and practical solutions.  Plus the Standard has been identified by ISO as a gender responsive standard as it highlights the gendered aspect of caregiving and includes an informative annex about the importance of using a sex/gender lens in the development of carer-inclusive workplace programs given that between 57-81% of all carers are female, depending on the country context.


Allison WilliamsDr. Allison Williams, Professor, McMaster University, Canada and Convenor of ISO TC 314, WG 3 explains that, “This ISO Standard is an important step in increasing awareness of and accessibility to carer-friendly workplace supports – it is an extremely exciting opportunity given that the Standard is a ready-made, accessible tool that provides clear direction for creating carer-inclusive workplaces around the globe, for real change. “




ISO 25551:2021 Ageing societies — General requirements and guidelines for carer-inclusive organizations is now available from ISO national member bodies. It may also be obtained directly from the ISO Central Secretariat, respectively through the ISO Store.