Have you heard about the Carer’s Leave Bill? Recent research carried out by Carers UK found that there are approximately 10.58m people in the UK today who are unpaid carers. Many of these individuals, just like you, are juggling their caring responsibilities alongside work and other commitments. Their research also found that there had been a 42% increase in unpaid carers providing more than 20 hours of care a week since October 2020.
With the number of unpaid carers growing and around 2.2m unpaid carers worrying about the impact of not getting a break, some MPs have called for the government to back a new law that provides unpaid leave entitlement.
We have gathered all the information we know so far about this new carers holiday grant, what it means for you, and just how essential holiday grants for carers are for the 1 in 5 adults acting as unpaid carers in the UK today.
What is the Carer’s Leave Bill?
This new law provides carers holiday grants for employed unpaid carers up to 1 week of unpaid leave a year. Under UK law, parents have a right to take up to 18 weeks of unpaid leave for each child under the age of 17.
However, carers do not have any statutory right for unpaid leave for any other dependents. This has led many carers to take other forms of leave, such as annual leave, to ensure that those dependent on them can be cared for and looked after.
Therefore, the government-backed Carer’s Leave Bill, introduced by Wendy Chamberlain MP, will introduce a highly flexible form of entitlement for employees so that they can take one week’s unpaid leave a year if they are providing or arranging care.
Who is eligible?
And the best news? This leave will be available to all employees from the first day of employment. This means that any unpaid carer, no matter how long they’ve worked for their employer, will be eligible for unpaid leave. This leave can be taken flexibly to suit their care responsibilities, and no evidence will be needed for the leave to be granted.
When will the Carer’s Leave Bill start?
The Carer’s Leave Bill is going through parliament and successfully passed its second reading in September 2022. This landmark change in how businesses support their employees when caring for others is expected to be passed in 2023 and will give millions of carers employment rights for the first time.
With the roles of carers becoming more understood and appreciated by the rest of society, carers across the country are hopeful that the Carer’s Leave Bill is just the start of increasing legislation that supports the vital work of carers in the UK.