Skip to Content Skip to Navigation
Member Login

Member login

No account? JOIN US

A right to Carer's Leave - supporting working carers

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.

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 recently consulted on a proposal to give employees a week of unpaid carer’s leave each year to provide unpaid care. The consultation closed on 3 August 2020.

Carers UK’s view on the Government’s consultation

We 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 were 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.

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.

To access the full submission Carers UK made to the Government’s consultation, please click here.

 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 during 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 changes to the way we work occur as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, this issue of people juggling work and care is only going grow as a challenge. The UK is already lagging other countries when it comes to workplace rights for carers and it’s time our workplaces reflect the reality of our lives.

Read our latest research

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.

Back to top