Ageing Better is backing proposed Carer’s Leave Bill
We're supporting legislative moves to grant more employment support and flexibility for unpaid carers.
Ageing Better is joining cross-party MPs, employers, unions and carer organisations in calling for a week of unpaid leave for carers every year.
Ageing Better is wholeheartedly supporting a new campaign to ensure millions of unpaid carers are better supported in the workplace.
We're backing the Carer's Leave Bill, brought forward by Wendy Chamberlain MP and currently working its way through Parliament, which would introduce a landmark new right for UK employees with caring responsibilities of up to one week of unpaid Carer's Leave each year.
The new Private Members' Bill, which will apply for anyone looking after older, disabled or seriously ill relatives or friends, has gained wide-ranging support from cross-party politicians. Ageing Better is among more than 100 organisations publicly supporting the intention of the Bill, including major employers, employer representative groups, trade unions and carers' organisations.
Ageing Better has long supported the rights of carers. We have been campaigning for years for workers to be eligible for Carer's Leave from day one of their employment.
We have advocated for employers to develop carers’ policies, train managers to better support carers’ needs and facilitate peer support networks for carers to meet others in a similar position.
Most recently we shone a light on the lives of older carers through our award-nominated image library. It's estimated there are 2.4 million employees juggling work and unpaid care across the UK who would benefit from the passing of the Bill. People aged 55-64 are the most likely age group to be carers, with one in five undertaking caring duties.
One week’s unpaid leave for unpaid carers was a pledge in the Conservative Party 2019 manifesto and the Johnson government confirmed their intention to introduce legislation on the issue in response to a consultation in 2020. However, progress on the issue has since stalled. Previous attempts to bring forward Carer's Leave as a Private Members Bill have been unsuccessful twice in recent history, in 2016/17 and in 2021/22, but Ageing Better is hopeful it could be third time lucky.
Dr Carole Easton, Chief Executive at the Centre for Ageing Better, said:
“Combining paid work with caring for a family member or friend can be incredibly difficult and it is time that unpaid carers were given greater help.
“All the evidence indicates that many carers find it an impossible juggling act. Older women, in particular, who take on a caregiving role are significantly more likely to stop working than their counterparts who provide no care while less than a quarter of carers are in part-time or full-time paid work.
“This is a tragic waste. For the carers themselves who may see their personal finances hit and their career progression halted. But also more broadly, for businesses and the wider economy which are deprived of the full contribution many carers would like to make.
“It should not be a binary choice between working and caring for a loved one and Carers’ Leave would give carers more opportunities to find the balance that works for them.
“A right to Carers’ Leave would also relieve some of the pressure felt by millions of caregivers, grant them greater flexibility and show recognition for the immense contribution and sacrifice they make to our society.
“Ultimately we would want to see employees receive two weeks’ paid carers leave as a guaranteed right. “But passing the current Private Members Bill would be an historic first step for carers.
“It would also mean hundreds of thousands of employers creating carer-related policies for the first time and we would hope that many of those would then be prompted to go further in their support for carers.”