Centrica and Carers UK call for up to two weeks’ of paid carers leave.
Centrica plc is working with Carers UK to lobby the Government to introduce five to 10 days of mandatory paid carers leave for all employees.
Iain Conn, Group Chief Executive of Centrica, has written to the chief executives of the UK’s 100 largest employers to encourage more support for carers and to open a dialogue sharing best practice and experience. That includes greater use of flexible working.
Centrica says that it has estimated that UK companies could save up to £4.8 billion a year in unplanned absences and a further £3.4 billion in improved employee retention by adopting flexible working policies to support those with caring responsibilities.
Centrica has also announced changes to its own carers leave policy. Previously, Centrica employees would need to take a day of annual leave to use one of their 20 days of paid for carers leave. It will now offer 10 days paid leave to all carers followed by another 10 days that can be taken if matched with annual leave. The company also provides flexible working from day one of becoming a carer and a carers network which offers peer support.
Centrica will be rolling out these policy changes globally.
According to Carers UK, the number of people balancing care responsibilities with work has now grown to over five million people from the three million previously identified in 2011. However, it says the demands of caring mean that 2.6 million people have been forced to stop working altogether.
Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK, said: “More than 600 people give up work every day to care for a loved one, often taking with them skills and years of experience. Whether looking after a partner receiving hospital treatment, or supporting parents to live independently at home, a right to five to 10 days paid care leave could make all the difference to a member of staff juggling work and care.
“It’s important now more than ever that the Government and employers support the rising number of carers to remain in work. It makes good business sense and helps families who are caring. The consequences of failing to do so are huge.”