Responding to recent press speculation that an Employment Bill would not be forthcoming in the Queen’s Speech, Carers UK has urged the Government to make a right to Carer’s Leave and day one rights to request flexible working a priority and to fulfil their manifesto commitments.
Helen Walker, Chief Executive, Carers UK, said: “It would be shocking and incredibly disappointing for carers if we did not see a commitment to legislate for both a day one right to request flexible working and for up to one week’s unpaid Carer’s Leave which both support unpaid carers. In November 2021, our research[i] found that 37% of carers said they needed unpaid Carer’s Leave and that a further 1 in 7 workers who were carers were at risk of reducing working hours or giving up work altogether if they didn’t get it.
“Government has been very keen to stress the introduction of a right to Carer’s Leave as support for unpaid carers in the delivery of social care reform, hospital discharge and staying in work; – vital, given current income pressures on families with the cost of living rises. It would be devastating if that support for unpaid carers ebbed away. We need Government to make every effort to deliver on their manifesto promises to carers.
“A day one right to request flexible working is just as important. Carers UK’s research shows there are still many unpaid carers out there who are at risk of losing their jobs if they don’t get more flexibility in the workplace.
“With social care shortages and pressures on the NHS, families simply can’t do it all. This is precisely the time when Government really should be investing in carers and their families as well as employers by bringing in the right to up to one week’s unpaid Carer’s Leave and a day one right to request flexible working. There has never been a more important time to do so.
“The Government's consultation on Carer's Leave found support across business and carers alike."
[i]Findings in our report Supporting Carers at work: Opportunity and imperative, published in November 2021