Call to improve support for carers and introduce right to unpaid leave

The Carer's Leave Bill would allow employees to be absent from work in order to provide or arrange care for dependants.

MPs to debate Carer’s Leave Bill which aims to improve support and give carers right to unpaid leave iStock

Carers across the UK are being put in an “extremely difficult position” by having to juggle work with looking after a loved one, it has been claimed.

It comes ahead of MPs debating proposals to give carers the right to take unpaid leave.

The Carer’s Leave Bill would allow employees to be absent from work on leave in order to provide or arrange care for a spouse, civil partner, child, parent or other dependent, that has a long-term care need.

Liberal Democrat MP Wendy Chamberlain will bring forward the Private Member’s Bill at Westminster on Friday.

Carer’s UK has welcomed the Bill, saying that it would be “a very important step” in recognising and supporting carers in employment.

If passed, the new leave entitlement would apply to England, Scotland and Wales.

It would not apply in Northern Ireland where employment law is a devolved matter.

A debate on the Bill had been due to take place in September, but it was postponed during the period of national mourning.

It will instead take place on Friday in the House of Commons, beginning at around 10.45am.

Chamberlain underlined the need for the law to be introduced to help support carers.

“I am excited to debate my Bill in Parliament and hopefully to secure its passage to the next stage of becoming law,” she said.

“Over the summer I have met with unpaid carers in my constituency and beyond and have heard first-hand the difficulties they face. My Bill could make a real difference.

“Millions of carers across the UK have to juggle their work with the responsibilities of looking after of loved ones.

“Many find this impossible and are forced to leave the workforce, putting them in an extremely difficult situation.

“This Bill would give them some much-needed flexibility to cope with these challenges. It would offer a right to take some time off to take loved ones to their hospital appointments for example.”

Chamberlain stated that caring is “fundamentally important” as she stated that unpaid carers deserve greater support that they currently get.

She continued: “I have also met with key employers who are supporting the Bill, including BT, Centrica, Nationwide and others.

“They recognise that carers’ leave will benefit their employees as well as their businesses through better retention of staff.

“Caring is fundamentally important and unpaid carers deserve much more support than they get now.”

She added: “I hope that my Bill will be part of that and that with the support of people inside and outside of Parliament, it will soon be on its way to becoming law.”

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