In 2020 it was reported that over 7 million people in paid work were also providing unpaid care.
Balancing work and care can be a real struggle – with many carers saying they are tired, stressed and struggling to manage their own physical and mental health, and some feeling that they have no choice but to leave the labour market entirely.
Given the cost-of-living crisis and as our population ages, the issue of people juggling work and care is only going to grow as a challenge.
The Carer’s Leave Bill, which was successful at Committee stage on Wednesday 9th November 2022, is looking to give carers in employment the right to take unpaid leave. The Third Reading of the Bill in the House of Commons is scheduled to take place on Friday 3 February 2023, so further updates will be released as they are known.
What would the implications of the Bill be?
- It would help support unpaid carers to remain in work alongside their unpaid caring responsibilities by giving the carer the right to take unpaid leave.
- Improve finances for carers in the short and longer term as they are more able to juggle the responsibilities of work and care.
- Improve the health and wellbeing of employees with caring responsibilities as managing both responsibilities can be a source of stress for many employees.
- It may have an effect on the gender pay gap, as women are predicted to be more likely to be working and caring, and who are much more likely to be in part-time work rather than full-time.
- It is possible that it will bring increased productivity for employers, improving their employee retention rates and reducing their recruitment costs.
- It may also bring economic benefits for the Treasury, through increased productivity, due to more carers being able to continue in work.
Whilst the Bill is for unpaid leave, some employers may go further than the legislation and introduce paid Carer’s Leave to help them stay ahead with recruitment and retain their talent.
There is currently no effective date for this legislation and the specific details of the Bill, if successful, have not yet been confirmed.
Please keep an eye on future marketing materials for further updates. If you would like to amend your leave provisions to offer this to your staff, please contact us here and we will help you navigate this change.