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A right to paid care leave

The latest research shows that almost 5 million people are juggling paid work alongside caring unpaid – that is about 15% of the population. We also know that half of woman will have cared / be caring for someone by the time they are 46.

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. That is why there is a clear case to improve support at work for carers – paid care leave, alongside flexible working, is key to this.

Thanks to Carers UK’s work, and the help of our supporters and campaigns, the Government announced in the Queen’s Speech in December 2019 that it would bring forward legislation to introduce a new right to leave for unpaid carers.

There is still more to be done – we want this to be paid care leave to ensure that carers don’t have to worry about losing money if they take leave from work to care.

As our population ages, this issue of people juggling work and care is only going to become an even bigger challenge. The UK is already lagging behind other countries when it comes to workplace rights for carers and it’s time our workplaces reflect the reality of our lives.

Carers UK would also like to see Government and employers explore longer term leave for those carers who face changes in the condition of the person they are caring for, as well as more flexible working practices to enable carers to remain in work.

What has Carers UK done so far and what will we do next?

Researching and influencing

We’ve published evidence on carers’ experience of combining work and care, and looked at examples in other countries of how paid care leave works. These included the benefits for business, carers, their colleagues and the economy.

We shared our evidence to inform policy making across a number of different areas, including: The Government’s Cross-Government Action Plan on Carers, the Independent Review of the State Pension Age, the Government’s Industrial Strategy, and several Select Committee inquiries looking at support for working carers.

Working with employers

Our employers’ forum, Employers for Carers, now has a membership of over 115 organisations from a wide range of sectors, and a reach of over 1.5 million employees. It exists to develop and promote best practice of how to support carers in the workplace.

What is Carers UK doing next?

We want to ensure that when care leave is introduced this new right will be implemented as paid care leave. We will be campaigning and working to influence the upcoming Employment Bill to make the case for paid care leave.

Read our latest research

Will I Care: The Likelihood of being a carer” (November 2019)

“Juggling work and unpaid care” (February 2019)

Our response to the Cross Party Report from MPs on support for working carers (May 2018)

Our response to the Work and Pensions Committee's Support for Carers Inquiry (January 2018)

Contact us

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