Some carers caring for elderly, disabled or seriously ill relatives or friends struggle to find the right work-life balance.
But help could be at hand as a new private Member’s Bill that would provide better support in the workplace has received widespread support from politicians, employers and carers’ organisations.
The Bill’s second reading will take place on Friday, 9 September 2022, but 21 MPs from across the political spectrum have already pledged their support.
In addition, 100 organisations publicly support the Bill’s intention, including major employers, employer representative groups, trade unions and national and local carers’ organisations, demonstrating its broad appeal.
It is significant that the Carer’s Leave Bill, introduced by Wendy Chamberlain MP, introduces a historic new entitlement for UK employees with caring responsibilities to one week’s unpaid leave per year. “It is fantastic to have the support of my fellow MPs and a wide range of organisations for my Bill”, said Wendy Chamberlain MP.
2.4 million employees
Indeed, a right to carers’ leave would ease the pressure on millions of people across the country who juggle paid employment with unpaid care for a family member or friend. An estimated 2.4 million employees juggle work and unpaid care in the UK.
This would give them the flexibility to attend routine hospital appointments, for example, or to help the person they care for recover from a planned operation. Unfortunately, more than half of employees with family responsibilities do not currently have access to carers’ leave that would allow them to support their loved ones in this way.
Chamberlain MP added: “Carers’ leave also brings significant benefits to employers, reducing recruitment and retention costs and improving staff planning and engagement. It will keep many more skilled people – the majority of whom are women – in work and contribute to our economy.”
Better balance work
Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK, said, “We are delighted that Wendy Chamberlain MP has introduced the carers’ leave bill. With so much of the working population now juggling work and caring for a loved one, there has never been a more important time to introduce carers’ leave.
“Our research shows that every day in the UK, at least 600 carers make the difficult decision to leave the workforce because it is becoming too hard – a decision made at great personal cost, as well as to the economy.
“Add to this the spiralling cost of living crisis, and it is vital that unpaid carers are properly supported to stay in work. By supporting the carers’ leave bill on 9 September, we can send a signal to carers that they are visible and valued, and help millions of people better balance work and care.”
The following is a list of MPs who have said they will support the Bill, including Dame Caroline Dinenage MP (Conservative, Gosport), Sally-Ann Hart MP (Conservative, Hastings and Rye), Steve McCabe MP (Labour, Birmingham Selly Oak), Stuart C McDonald, MP (SNP, Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East), Caroline Lucas MP (Greens, Brighton Pavilion), Sir Ed Davey MP (Lib Dem, Kingston and Surbiton), Marion Fellows MP (SNP, Motherwell and Wishaw), and Liz Saville-Roberts MP (Plaid Cymru, Dwyfor Meirionnydd).
In this article, you learned that:
- The Bill’s second reading will take place on Friday, 9 September 2022.
- 21 MPs from across the political spectrum have already pledged their support.
- An estimated 2.4 million employees juggle work and unpaid care in the UK.