There are over 2 million employees (Family Resources Survey 2019-2020) providing unpaid care to friends and families, such as providing personal care, arranging medical and social support, and attending appointments. As the population ages and with more people staying in work longer these numbers will only increase.
(1) This Council notes:
- (a) the growing care crisis in our country. There are over 2 million employees (Family Resources Survey 2019-2020) providing unpaid care to friends and families, such as providing personal care, arranging medical and social support, and attending appointments. As the population ages and with more people staying in work longer these numbers will only increase.
- (b) the pressure on people as they balance their work with caring for loved ones or friends. Carers are often required to use their own annual leave allowances to meet their caring responsibilities, risking burn out.
(2) This Council believes that more action is needed to support people in work with caring responsibilities.
(3) Council therefore proposes to support the Carer’s Leave Bill being brought through Parliament by Liberal Democrat Wendy Chamberlain MP which will, for the first time, create a statutory entitlement to offer unpaid leave for employees with caring responsibilities.
- (a) The objective of the Bill will be to support carers to juggle work and care and for employers to maximise retention and wellbeing.
- (b) It is expected to provide for up to one week’s unpaid leave per year and would provide flexibility for carers to take smaller amounts of leave from half days up to one week, making things more flexible for employees and employers. The right would be intended to apply to all employees, effectively starting from day one of employment.
- (c) Eligibility for the leave would be clearly defined in the Bill, taking a broad approach to reflect the wide range of caring relationships and responsibilities.
(4) Council therefore:
- (a) resolves for the leader/chief executive to write to our local MP[s] asking them if they will support the Carer’s Leave Bill
- (b) resolves to review its own communications and support for local advice services for Carers, to see if there is any further support that can be given locally.
Dear [NAME OF RECIPIENT/S],
We the undersigned councillors and council groups are writing in support of the Carers’ Leave private members’ bill bring brought through parliament by Wendy Chamberlain MP.
There is a growing care crisis in this country. According to Carers UK research, there are at least 2.3 million unpaid carers balancing caring with work. It is worth noting that this figure does not account for those people who have stopped working due to the strain of balancing caring with work. Furthermore, these numbers are only likely to grow. We have an ageing population and more people are staying in work older.
Caring takes a variety of forms. It includes providing physical day to day care, but also arranging or accompanying family and friends to appointments. It is incredibly taxing and at the moment support for carers is a lottery, with millions of people being forced to use their own holiday allowance to balance their responsibilities with work. Instead of being supported far too many carers are pushed towards burn out.
Ms Chamberlain’s bill will, if made law, introduce for the first time employment rights for unpaid carers, to take up to one week of leave per year in half day blocks, which can’t be unreasonably refused by their employer. We also hope that these new rights will spark many more conversations between employers and employees about caring responsibilities and what employers can do to provide more support.
Carers are the back bone of our country and we hope that this bill will become law providing support so badly needed.