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A right to Carer's Leave - help us make the case to Government

Millions of people in the UK juggle their caring responsibilities with paid work. For these ‘working carers’, balancing work and care can be a real struggle – with carers saying they are tired, stressed and struggling to manage their own physical and mental health. They urgently need more support to ensure they can remain in work.

Government Consultation – a weeks’ unpaid carer’s leave

A right to carer’s leave is an issue that Carers UK has campaigned on for a long time. Thanks to the help of our supporters and campaigns, and the work of other organisations in raising this issue, the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is currently consulting on a proposal to give employees a week of unpaid carer’s leave each year to provide unpaid care.

  • The deadline for responding to this consultation is 3 August 2020. You can respond online here:

  • To access our briefing regarding this consultation, please click here

  • To access our briefing specifically for carers looking to respond to this consultation, please click here

We want to encourage and support a large and positive response with a wide range of evidence from organisations across the sector, and from employers more widely. The government is interested in hearing from all kinds of interested parties: employers, individual unpaid carers, trade unions, representative organisations, charities, professional bodies, medical or social care providers researchers and academics. This consultation covers England, Wales, and Scotland. Northern Ireland devises its own legislation.

Carers UK’s view on the government’s consultation

We have welcomed Government’s intention and pledge to introduce Carer’s Leave for employees in paid employment, as a vital step in helping both business and families and friends providing care to disabled, older and ill relatives and friends to continue working. Government has said that they intend this right to be one week’s unpaid leave. Whilst Carers UK recognises that this would still deliver positive benefits, we believe this would be even more effective if this was paid. We also believe that Government should commit to staged increases to 10 days paid leave, with a longer period of unpaid leave of up to six months.

We believe that during and post-COVID-19 this is more important than ever for families, businesses, and the economy. At a time when the NHS and social care system are under extreme pressure, family support has been relied on more than ever.

 The need for a right to paid carer’s leave

Prior to the coronavirus crisis, almost 5 million people were juggling paid work alongside caring unpaid – about 15% of the population. The stresses and strain of having to juggle paid work and unpaid care has led to hundreds of thousands of people leaving the labour market entirely – on average, 600 people a day left work to care – over 500,000 people in the last two years alone.

Post-crisis, the number of working carers has only increased – our research released for Carers Week 2020 shows an estimated 4.5 million people in the UK have become unpaid carers as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. 2.8 million people (62%) who have started caring since the outbreak are also now juggling paid work alongside their caring responsibilities, highlighting the need for working carers to be supported as they return to offices and work sites.

As our population ages and the changes as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, this issue of people juggling work and care is only going to become an even bigger challenge. The UK is already lagging behind other countries when it comes to workplace rights for carers and it’s time our workplaces reflect the reality of our lives.

Click here to access Carers UK’s briefing on the Carer’s Leave Consultation


Read our latest research

Carers Week 2020: The rise in the number of unpaid carers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak (June 2020)

Will I Care: The Likelihood of being a carer” (November 2019)

“Juggling work and unpaid care” (February 2019)

Our response to the Cross Party Report from MPs on support for working carers (May 2018)

Our response to the Work and Pensions Committee's Support for Carers Inquiry (January 2018)

Contact us

For more information about carer’s leave, or the Government’s current consultation, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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