Millions of people across the UK who are currently providing unpaid care to dependant family members or friends will be entitled to unpaid leave under new laws backed by the Government.
Around 2 million of those providing unpaid care are thought to be doing so while balancing work alongside their caring responsibilities. With no dedicated statutory leave entitlement for these informal carers currently in place many have to resort to taking other forms of leave to ensure they can care for those dependent on them.
The Carer’s Leave Bill backed by the Government will introduce a new and highly flexible entitlement of one week’s unpaid leave per year for employees who are providing or arranging care.
Carer’s Leave will be available to eligible employees from the first day of their employment meaning unpaid carers will be supported regardless of how long they’ve worked with their employer. Staff will be able to take the leave flexibly to suit their caring responsibilities and will not need to provide evidence of how the leave is used or who it will be used for ensuring a smoother process for both businesses and their employees.
Employees taking their carer’s leave entitlement will be subject to the same employment protections that are associated with other forms of family related leave. Therefore they will be protected from dismissal or any detriment as a result of having taken time off.
By making it easier for people to support their loved ones employers are likely to benefit from less staff turnover and a reduction in recruitment and training costs by retaining employees who previously would have been unable to balance their caring responsibilities and working life.
The Government consulted on proposals for a Carer’s Leave Bill in 2020 with a response to the consultation being published in September 2021. You can read the response here.