Over 120,000 unpaid carers in Wales granted new employment rights as groundbreaking Carer’s Leave Act comes into force

Over 120,000 workers with unpaid caring responsibilities in Wales will be entitled to take up to five days unpaid leave when the new Carer’s Leave Act comes into force on Saturday 6th April 2024.

New analysis of Census 2021 data by Carers Wales shows that there are around 98,000 people in full-time employment in Wales who were also looking after someone who is elderly, disabled or with a long-term health condition, and 51,000 people in part-time employment who were also unpaid carers.

The new rights are particularly important as previous Carers UK research shows around 200 people a day give up work to care due to a lack of flexibility and support. Research shows that in Wales every year between 2010-20 approximately 93,000 people in paid employment became unpaid carers – over 250 people every day.

For the first time, employees who are carers will be able to take up to 5 days unpaid leave to better balance work with caring responsibilities each year. Employees Charity Carers Wales, part of Carers UK, which led the campaign for those juggling work and unpaid care, has seen support for the new legislation from employers, unpaid carers, other stakeholders, unions, representative bodies and unpaid carers.

Claire Morgan, Director of Carers Wales, said: “The implementation of the Carer’s Leave Act means that more than 120,000 people in Wales who juggle employment with their caring role will benefit from some deserved flexibility.

“Being an unpaid carer takes a huge toll on people’s health and well-being, and can be a key driver in stripping people of their identity and pushing them into poverty.”

Research shows that unpaid carers contribute over £10bn to the Welsh economy over a 12 month period, saving health and social care services a huge amount of money while giving support to the people who are most in need across our communities. full or half days, or in a whole block of five days.

Those taking time off will have the same employment protection associated with other forms of family-related leave, such as Carers Wales Unit 5 Ynys Bridge Court Cardiff CF15 9SS 029 2081 1370 info@carerswales.org can take time off in protection from dismissal as a result of having taken the leave.

Carers UK is a charity registered in England and Wales (246329) and in Scotland (SC039307) and a company limited by guarantee registered in England & Wales (864097). Registered office: 20 Great Dover Street, London SE1 4LX carerswales.org

“It’s vital that employers across Wales support unpaid carers in the workplace to use this new right to help carers balance paid work and their caring role. Carers Wales stands ready to support unpaid carers and employers in navigating this new environment”

Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK, said: “The Carer’s Leave Act coming into force is a huge step forward for millions of carers, which recognises the vital importance of their caring role and empowers them to ask for support in the workplace – in the form of unpaid Carer’s Leave – knowing that they have a legal entitlement to this.

“Juggling work with caring responsibilities isn’t easy and without the right support, this can take its toll. Too many skilled and valued workers are leaving employment due to the stress of balancing work and unpaid care. “Now every employer in the country must recognise carers in the workplace, employees can be confident speaking about their caring role – kickstarting a crucial conversation about the support they need to stay in work, which matters not just for carers, but for employers and the economy, too.”

Chris O’Shea, Group Chief Executive at Centrica, owner of British Gas, said: “Carers do amazing work, most of it unseen. Juggling a job and caring can be a real struggle, emotionally and financially, which is why we’ve worked with Carers UK for the last twenty years to help demonstrate the economic case for supporting carers in the workplace.

“At Centrica, we provide paid carer’s leave, flexible working and a support network for our working carers. Not only is it the right thing to do, there is a clear business case for supporting carers, including better colleague satisfaction and retention. The introduction of five days statutory carer’s leave through the Carer’s Leave Act is a great step forward and will make an enormous difference to all working carers in the UK’.”

To ensure that unpaid carers are aware of their new rights under the new legislation, Carers Wales has created new information and advice resources which can be accessed here. To ensure employers are aware of what is required of them as employers, Carers Wales have created a new guide. For more information visit the Employers for Carers Wales website.

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