Unpaid carers to get a week’s unpaid leave from jobs to allow ‘vital’ role

By Staff 5 Min Read

A new Carer’s Leave Act will allow workers to take up to five days off to allow them to carry out caring responsibilities from today, as many struggle to stay in jobs

Unpaid carers will be entitled to a week’s unpaid leave from their job from Saturday.

A new Carer’s Leave Act will come into force tomorrow which will entitle workers to take up to five days to carry out their caring responsibilities. The leave can be taken by anyone with caring responsibilities for a sick or disabled loved one in full days, half days or all at once.

There are more than five million unpaid carers in the UK, many of whom struggle to stay in employment. Wendy Chamberlain MP, who introduced the Carer’s Leave Act in the House of Commons, said: “Becoming a carer is something that can happen to any one of us. It can take many forms: from day-to-day physical caring, making medical appointments or doing the shopping for a housebound elderly neighbour.

“Caring or being cared for is something that almost everyone will experience at some point in their life. The work unpaid carers do is unequivocally vital yet is it extremely underappreciated.”

Employees can take up to a week of unpaid leave every year, dependent on how many days per week they work. Helen Walker, chief executive of Carers UK, said: “Passing the regulations associated with the Carer’s Leave Act is a vital moment setting in stone the process for working carers requesting Carer’s Leave from their employer.

“This brand new right will help many more carers stay in work, and support businesses to retain staff. Now every employer in the country must recognise carers in the workplace, employees can be confident speaking about their caring role.”

Carers UK says around 600 people a day give up work to care. The sectors with the highest numbers of unpaid carers are public administration, education and health at 976,000.

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