Home Children, Young People & Families UK Carers Leave Act: A Step Forward, But 70% Say “Not Enough”, New VinciWorks Survey Reveals

UK Carers Leave Act: A Step Forward, But 70% Say “Not Enough”, New VinciWorks Survey Reveals

by Kirsty Kirsty

The Carers Leave Act (2023) taking effect on April 6th is a positive step, recognising the critical role unpaid carers play in society. However, a new VinciWorks poll found a significant gap between the Act’s provisions and the needs of working carers.

The Carers Leave Act, which applies to all businesses and industries, offers a week of unpaid leave – a start, but one that falls short of the significant support working carers require. VinciWorks, a leading compliance eLearning and software solutions provider, surveyed over 150 HR and compliance professionals. Its findings show that 70% of respondents believe the Act doesn’t go far enough.

An unpaid carer is any person who provides care and support, beyond their paid job, for someone with additional needs arising from an illness, a disability, a mental health issue or an addiction. They receive no additional financial compensation for their care role. 

The UK has over 3 million working carers, silently managing demanding responsibilities at home as well as employment. There is often a reluctance to disclose their situation to their employer due to fear of negative workplace repercussions. These concerns often stem from worries about being seen as less reliable or treated differently by colleagues.

According to Carers UK, over half (57%) of those who stopped working or reduced their hours due to caring responsibilities said that the stress of juggling work and care was the primary reason. The financial impact is significant as well – nearly half (49%) of carers who gave up work or reduced their work hours saw their income decrease by over £1,000 per month. 

“Five days of leave is simply not enough,” says Nick Henderson-Mayo, Director of Learning and Content at VinciWorks. “Carers need flexible work arrangements, access to support services, and a workplace culture that fosters open communication. The Act is a start, which in itself is a very encouraging first step, but businesses can and should do a lot more to create a truly supportive environment.”

The VinciWorks poll also found that more than half (55%) of respondents do not currently have a carers policy at their organisation, with over half (51%) feeling unsure or unprepared for the new Act.

“By going beyond the minimum requirements of the Carers Leave Act,” concludes Henderson-Mayo, “businesses have the power to create a workplace that recognises the vital role of working carers. This not only promotes a more supportive and inclusive environment but also makes good business sense.”

Supporting working carers isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s a smart business decision. Businesses that go beyond the Carers Leave Act minimums can attract and retain valuable, experienced staff. This translates to a more stable workforce with reduced stress, sick leave, and absenteeism. Ultimately, it boosts productivity and delivers cost savings.

To support leaders, managers and HR professionals across all industries, VinciWorks has launched a new collection of courses for best practice solutions and policy guidance to support carers, Supporting Working Carers in the D&I suite. 

The recent survey conducted by VinciWorks, a global compliance eLearning provider, polled over 150 HR and compliance professionals on The Carer’s Leave Act 2023: What your organisation needs to know.

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