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Carers UK responds to Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Bill passing Second Reading

On Friday 28th October the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Bill, passed its Second Reading, with Government support.

The Bill would make it easier for carers to request flexible working, by increasing the number of times they can request flexible working within a year-long period and requiring employers to consult with employees before rejecting any such request.

Flexible working is crucial to enable carers to juggle work and care. Carers UK research shows that pre-pandemic 600 carers a day were leaving the workforce due to their caring responsibilities. Carers UK’s Supporting carers at work: opportunity and imperative report also revealed that nearly three-quarters (72%) of working carers say that they worry about continuing to juggle work with their caring role, while one quarter (24%) of carers in employment said their employer was not understanding of caring.

Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK, said:

“We’re delighted that this bill has passed second reading and has Government support, because we know just how much carers value flexibility from their employer. Flexible working can prevent carers from making difficult decisions to leave the workforce, which can have a catastrophic impact on their household finances and career prospects.

“Enabling flexible working is a win for both carers in employment and employers. It helps carers manage their caring role – for example, taking loved ones to hospital appointments or day services – while assisting employers with retaining experienced staff.

“We will be following this bill closely and urge MPs and Peers to support it as it continues to progress through Parliament.”

The Private Member’s Bill, brought forward by Yasmin Qureshi MP, will proceed to Committee Stage and a small group of MPs will scrutinise the wording of the Bill closely.

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