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Government Consultation on a Right to Carer’s Leave

Millions of people in the UK juggle their caring responsibilities with paid work. For these ‘working carers’, balancing work and care can be a real struggle – with carers saying they are tired, stressed and struggling to manage their own physical and mental health. They urgently need more support to ensure they can remain in work.

A right to carer’s leave is an issue that Carers UK has campaigned on for a long time. Thanks to the help of their supporters and campaigns, and the work of other organisations in raising this issue, the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is currently consulting on a proposal to give employees a week of unpaid carer’s leave each year to provide unpaid care.

Carers UK have welcomed Government’s intention and pledge to introduce Carer’s Leave for employees in paid employment, as a vital step in helping both business and families and friends providing care to disabled, older and ill relatives and friends to continue working. Government has said that they intend this right to be one week’s unpaid leave.

Whilst Carers UK recognises that this would still deliver positive benefits, including for the health and well-being of working carers, they believe this would be even more effective if this new right was paid. They also believe that Government should commit to staged increases to 10 days paid leave, with a longer period of unpaid leave of up to six months.

They believe that during and post-COVID-19 this is more important than ever for families, businesses, and the economy. At a time when the NHS and social care system are under extreme pressure, family support has been relied on more than ever.

That is why Carers UK want to encourage and support a large and positive response with a wide range of evidence from organisations across the sector, and from employers more widely. The government is interested in hearing from all kinds of interested parties: employers, individual unpaid carers, trade unions, representative organisations, charities, professional bodies, medical or social care providers researchers and academics. This consultation covers England, Wales, and Scotland. Northern Ireland devises its own legislation.

The deadline for responding to this consultation is 3 August 2020. You can respond online here

To read the briefing regarding this consultation, please click here.

For more information, please contact: [email protected]