Chamberlain’s Carer’s Leave Bill getting widespread support

The Carer’s Leave Bill, a Private Members’ Bill brought forward by Wendy Chamberlain, Scottish Liberal Democrat deputy leader, aims to introduce a new right for employees with caring responsibilities of up to one week of unpaid carer’s leave annually. The bill will receive its second reading on 9 September.

As reported by the Independent and several other media outlets, the right to leave is getting widespread support from MPs, businesses and charities. The bill will give unpaid carers the flexibility to attend routine hospital appointments or help the person they care for recover from a planned operation. There is hope that such flexibility will allow carers to continue at work rather than being forced to give up their jobs.

Chamberlain said:

A right to carer’s leave would relieve some of the pressure on millions of people up and down the country juggling paid employment with unpaid care for a family member or friend.

It would give them flexibility to attend routine hospital appointments, for example, or help the person they care for recover from a planned operation.

Sadly, more than half of employees with caring responsibilities do not currently have access to carer’s leave to enable them to support their loved ones in this way.

Carer’s leave also brings significant benefits for employers, through lower recruitment and retention costs, as well as better staff planning and engagement. It will help to keep many more skilled people – the majority of whom are women – in work and contributing to our economy.

Helen Walker, chief executive of Carers UK, said:

We are delighted Wendy Chamberlain MP has brought forward the Carer’s Leave Bill. With huge swathes of the working population now juggling their job and caring for a loved one, there has never been a more important time to introduce carer’s leave.

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.

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  • Neil James Sandison 30th Aug '22 - 1:21pm

    A good social democratic principle to enshrine a right into law which makes it more difficult to remove by future governments .

  • This is important stuff. Many decent employers already offer this, and one week doesn’t seem that much when compared with the challenges of caring responsibilities, but it’s realistic for smaller businesses and provides a firm base for future enhancements.

    As the piece says, it’s actually good for business as it will make it easier to retain staff, and allows for better planning. If a person with caring responsibilities knows they have the comfort of an optional additional one week of unpaid leave they won’t feel the pressure to postpone booking annual leave until the last minute etc.

  • Helen Dudden 31st Aug '22 - 11:17am

    Life is not all plain sailing, this makes sense.

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