The UK Government will introduce one week’s leave for unpaid carers, helping people to balance a job with caring for a dependant.
The move is set to benefit millions of people – with figures suggesting that around five million people across the UK are providing unpaid care, with nearly half doing so while also working full-time or part-time.
The move will entitle an unpaid carer to one working week’s leave per year. It can be taken flexibly, ranging from half days to the whole week at once.
The government has also said that there will not be an extensive administrative process to ensure legitimacy of requests to take Carer’s Leave as the leave is unpaid.
The new benefit will be a right from the first day of employment.
The measure will also look to balance the needs of the employee with the employer, with a minimum notice period of twice the length of time being taken, plus one day.
John Lamont MP said:
“Unpaid carers look after their loved ones with very little thanks, and it can often be very difficult for them to balance work and their caring responsibilities.
“Introducing a right to carer’s leave will help unpaid carers look after loved ones, help them attend appointments with them, and generally make it easier to juggle their work and their caring.
“Women are often still the primary carers in many families and their careers can be disproportionately impacted as a result.
“With an ageing population, the number of people relying on informal care is likely to increase in the coming years.
“Therefore, I am delighted that the UK Government will bring forward legislation to make carer’s leave a reality. This is a big step in a wider package of measures to look after those who look after others so selflessly.”
Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK, said:
“Juggling work with caring for someone who is older, disabled or seriously ill is a demanding balancing act and without support from employers can be too much to manage.
“Carers UK’s own research shows that pre-pandemic, every single day more than 600 people across the UK were giving up work to care for a loved one – with a devastating impact on their personal finances and at a huge cost to the wider UK economy.
“Giving employees with caring responsibilities a legal right to unpaid carer’s leave and the ability to request flexible working from day one of starting their job is an important step forward for UK workers and could make a difference to millions – enabling carers to support their relatives whilst staying in work, maintaining social connections and improving their financial stability.”