The landmark Carer’s Leave Bill has gained the support of 36 more cross party MPs after a Westminster event on 25 January. Carer’s UK reports that the proposed legislation would give extra rights to an estimated 2 million employees who are currently working and carrying out an unpaid carer role.
Caring for family and friends can take its toll on people who also hold down a full time job, and possibly also have a young family of their own to look after. The Carer’s Leave Bill would entitle unpaid carers to five days of unpaid Carer’s Leave to spend time with their loved one, allowing them to accompany them to medical appointments or carry out other tasks.
Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK said: “It was wonderful to see so many MPs across the board attending our event – it is essential that the Carer’s Leave Bill gets as much support as possible. Its passage would enable millions of unpaid carers to be better supported to stay in work and would recognise the vital role they play.
She added: “We have campaigned and advocated for unpaid carers to have these rights for decades. The evidence from employers in our Employers for Carers network show that it’s a real win-win situation for both employers and for unpaid carers. That’s why it’s vital that MPs show their support for the Bill at Report Stage and Third Reading on 3rd February.”
So far, 78 MPs have backed the private members bill, along with a number of employers and trade unions. It will now progress to Report Stage and third reading.
Wendy Chamberlain MP, Carer’s Leave Bill sponsor, said: “It was brilliant to be able to bring together MPs with carers and carer positive businesses today and demonstrate the benefits to everyone of Carer’s Leave. I want to thank everyone here today for their support.
She added: “It shows that supporting Carer’s Leave is a pro-business and pro-carers position, and I hope that parliamentarians will see that by supporting my Carer’s Leave Bill next week.”
Co-Chair of Centrica’s Carers Network, John Dunster, said: “Juggling work and unpaid care is a huge struggle for millions of working carers, not only emotionally but often financially too. Introducing statutory Carer’s Leave will make an enormous difference to peoples’ lives.”
“Our experience at Centrica, where we’ve gone a step further by providing paid leave, shows it’s not just the right thing to do, but that there is a clear business case for supporting carers, including savings from increased retention, and ensuring carers don’t have to take unplanned absences.”
It is hoped that if successful, the Carer’s Leave Bill will help to ease the strain on unpaid carers, many of whom end up leaving the workforce altogether because they find it so difficult to balance their caring responsibilities with their full time job.
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