Government backs new unpaid leave entitlement for carers
On Friday 21 October 2022 government backs new unpaid leave entitlement for carers.
Under new laws backed by the government, individuals currently providing unpaid care to dependent family members or friends will be entitled to unpaid leave under the Carer’s Leave Bill, introduced by Wendy Chamberlain MP. Whilst the Carer’s Leave Bill has not yet come into force, its second reading on Friday 21 October was successful and looks likely to be approved in the near future.
The Carer’s Leave Bill will introduce a new and highly flexible entitlement of one week’s unpaid leave per year for employees who are providing or arranging care for dependents. This reform is part of the government’s wider efforts to ensure more people stay in work with more employees on payrolls than ever before. The leave will be available to eligible employees from the first day of their employment.
This change follows reports that around 2 million people that are currently providing unpaid care are having to balance work alongside their caring responsibilities, many of whom are having to resort to taking other forms of leave to ensure they can provide or arrange the necessary care for their dependents.
Following this reform, staff will be able to take unpaid carer’s leave flexibly to suit their caring responsibilities and will not be required to provide evidence of how the leave is used or who it will be used for. The intention behind this is to make the process smoother for businesses and employees alike. In addition to this, employee’s taking their carer’s leave entitlement will be subject to the same employment protections that are associated with other forms of family related leave, meaning that employees will be protected from dismissal or any other detriment as a result of having time off.
It is believed that employers are likely to benefit from less staff turnover and a reduction in recruitment and training costs by making it easier for people to support their dependents.
"I am delighted that my Carer’s Leave Bill has passed its second reading [today]. When passed this will give millions of carers employment rights for the first time ever. It is a landmark change in how businesses support their employees."
- Wendy Chamberlain MP, the introducer of the Carer’s Leave Bill
"We are thrilled that the government has supported the Carer’s Leave Bill … Carers UK’s evidence shows Carer’s Leave would make a significant difference to unpaid carers’ lives, helping them stay in work and improving wellbeing by giving time off to attend appointments, arrange or provide care … it also makes business sense, helping retain skilled employees."
- Helen Walker, Carers UK Chief Executive
Get in touch
If you have any queries relating to unpaid carer’s leave or any implication this reform may have, please contact Jon Taylor.
This article was written with the assistance of Jordan Pace.