Home Department of Health & Social Care Lord Fox meets prominent employers to discuss Carer’s Leave Bill

Lord Fox meets prominent employers to discuss Carer’s Leave Bill

by Kirsty Kirsty

Prominent employers and experts in work and unpaid care met Lord Fox and members of the House of Lords today to discuss the benefits of the Carer’s Leave Bill, in a meeting organised by Carers UK, ahead of its Second Reading in the House of Lords on 3rd of March 2023.

The Carer’s Leave Bill is a Private Member’s Bill brought forward by Wendy Chamberlain MP and is being supported by more than 140 organisations. Having successfully passed through all stages in the House of Commons with cross-party and Government support, the Bill is now being led through the House of Lords by Lord Fox.

If the Bill passes successfully, millions of employees in Great Britain with caring responsibilities would have a new landmark right of up to one week of unpaid Carer’s Leave each year. This would mean people supporting older, disabled or seriously ill relatives could take time off for planned or foreseen caring commitments, for the very first time.

Employers and experts came together with Peers to discuss the significance of the Bill and to share their experiences of how unpaid Carer’s Leave allows them to better support and retain their staff, as well as the cost-savings and other benefits it has brought them. Carers also shared first hand experiences of how Carer’s Leave helps them directly.

Employers at the event included Centrica, Aviva, TSB, Phoenix Group, international law firm CMS, Listawood and Nationwide.

Lord Fox, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Business, Energy and Security in the House of Lords, said:

“The Carer’s Leave Bill is an important step in helping get carers the support they need. It was a great pleasure to hear from carers, employers and experts about their experiences and the benefits this Bill can help to bring.

“I am proud of the support from employers who know that the benefits of the Carer’s Leave Bill will extend beyond their employees and into staff retention.

“It is time to recognise the invaluable contributions of unpaid carers and provide them with the support they deserve. With the support of people both inside and outside of Parliament, I am confident that this Bill will soon become law – a step in the right direction for the lives of countless individuals across the UK.”

Patrick McCarthy, Co-Chair of Centrica’s Carers Network:
“Millions of working carers face an uphill battle to balance their jobs and unpaid care duties, which can take a heavy toll on their emotional and financial well-being.

“The introduction of statutory carer’s leave would be a game-changer, making a huge difference in people’s lives. Centrica has taken a step further by providing paid leave to carers, proving that not only is it the right thing to do but, in our experience, it’s also a smart business move. By supporting carers, companies like Centrica are boosting retention rates and avoiding costly unplanned absences, making it a win-win for everyone involved.”

Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carer’s UK said:

“We were delighted to bring together large and small employers who are leading the way in supporting unpaid carers at work, to show how the Carer’s Leave Bill can be implemented, and the concrete business benefits of doing so.

“There’s never been a more important time to ensure that unpaid carers are able to continue in paid work for as long as possible, particularly during the current cost-of-living crisis.

“New 2021 census data shows that more carers are providing greater hours of care each week, and this increases the risk that they will be unable to work. Our research found that every day in the UK, at least 600 carers make the difficult decision to leave the workforce because it becomes too much – a decision made at a great personal cost, as well as being negative for the economy and productivity.

“It’s clear that employers who have Carer’s Leave in place already are better able to retain staff – which is of benefit to carers and their organisation’s bottom line – a real win-win situation. 

“We hope that the Bill successfully passes its Second Reading on Friday and moves quickly through its next stages in the Lords with strong cross-party support.”

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