Wendy Chamberlain MP led a special event last Friday where prominent employers including Centrica, TSB and Phoenix Group met to discuss the benefits of her proposed Private Members Bill to businesses and employees.
If successfully passed through Parliament the Carer’s Leave Bill, which was published on the same day as the event, would introduce a landmark new right for UK employees with caring responsibilities of up to one week of unpaid Carer's Leave each year.
Ahead of the Second Reading on 9th September, employers and experts came together to discuss the significance of the Bill and share their experiences of how unpaid Carer’s Leave allows them to better support and retain their staff, as well as cost-savings and other benefits it has brought them.
Employers at the event included Centrica, TSB, BT, Nationwide, Listawood, Longhurst Group, international law firm CMS, Agenor and Phoenix Group.
Executive Sponsor of Centrica’s employee Carers Network, Martin O’Neill, said:
“As we recover from the pandemic, and with our NHS and social care system under continued pressure, introducing carer’s leave is an important step in helping individuals with caring responsibilities to continue working. At Centrica we’ve gone a step further, giving our carers 10 days paid carer’s leave, followed by two weeks that can be taken with matched annual leave. Together with our commitment to flexible working, we know it makes an enormous difference to people’s lives. But it’s not just the right thing to do, our experience shows that there is a clear business case for supporting carers, including savings from increased retention and ensuring carers don’t have to take unplanned absences.”
Wendy Chamberlain MP, sponsor of the Carer’s Leave Bill said:
“Ahead of the Second Reading of my Bill this week it was fantastic to meet with UK employers who are already leading the way with workplace support for unpaid carers - and have a Carer’s Leave policy in place.
“At a time when productivity is under pressure and employers are thinking about how they best retain their staff teams, it makes business sense to put measures in place to support the significant proportion of workers with unpaid caring responsibilities.
“Hearing first-hand how Carer’s Leave worked for staff and benefitted business, it was clear that the wider economic benefits of my proposed legislation would be significant.
“I very much hope my colleagues will join me in supporting the Carer’s Leave Bill through its next stage this Friday.”
Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK said:
“We are delighted to have helped bring so many supportive employers to the event with Wendy. There has never been a more pressing time to introduce Carer's Leave as the number of employees taking on caring responsibilities rises higher than ever before.
"Our research shows us that every day in the UK, at least 600 carers make the difficult decision to leave the workforce because it becomes too much – a decision made at a great personal cost, as well as at a detriment to the economy.
“But as employers who are leading the way with best practice have proven, the benefits to businesses and employees are very clear. Employers retain experienced, loyal staff.
"In this cost-of-living crisis, it is vital that unpaid carers are properly supported to stay in work. By supporting the Carer's Leave Bill on 9th September, employers can signal to carers that they are visible and valued, and help their staff to better balance work and care."
The Carer's Leave Bill could benefit millions of unpaid carers – those looking after older, disabled, or seriously ill relatives or friends – who are juggling their job with unpaid care.
It has already gained widespread support from cross-party politicians, as well as more than 100 employers and carers' organisations.