Write to your MP this week to help unpaid carers who are working to be awarded a week’s Carer’s Leave each year.
On Friday 21 October, MPs in the House of Commons will listen to the Second Reading of the Private Member’s Bill on Carer’s Leave that Wendy Chamberlain MP (Liberal Democrat MP for North East Fife) is taking forward.
If successful, the Bill will mean millions of unpaid carers are legally entitled to one week’s unpaid Carer’s Leave per year. This leave will entitle carers to take time off for caring purposes and anything connected to their caring role.
It will give carers added flexibility to do things such as attending a GP or hospital appointment with the person they care for or getting on top of the many practical and admin tasks that carers do for the person they care for.
While carers can already take Compassionate Leave for emergencies involving a dependant, this cannot be used for the day-to-day, planned and routine help that carers provide to those they care for and many will have to use up precious annual leave in order to carry out caring responsibilities.
Research carried out by UK charity Carers UK found that 75% of carers who don’t have unpaid Carer’s Leave say they need it, and a further 25% say they are at risk of reducing their working hours or giving up work altogether without it. The charity estimates that, pre-pandemic, 600 people a day were quitting their jobs in the UK because they weren’t getting the support needed to continue working alongside their caring responsibilities.
Carers UK welcomes the Government’s intension to bring in Carer’s Leave, however they will be campaigning to strengthen the proposals to make it paid leave and ensure that it can be taken flexibly, for example in half day blocks, in order to offer maximum benefit to carers.
This is an important opportunity to secure new employment rights and we urge your to contact your MP this week and ask them to support the Bill.
Carers UK have provided a useful email template on their website, which you can add your own personal experiences to and send directly to your MP.
Please do this today if you have five minutes to spare. The more individual carers MPs hear from in their constituencies the better.