Why the Carer’s Leave Act is just the start

The Carer’s Leave Act comes in next month, but campaigners say employers could do more to support employees with caring responsibilities in the workplace.

View of older hands holding the hands of a lady lying down depicting care


Next month [6th April] sees the coming into force of the Carer’s Leave Act which allows for one week’s unpaid leave for carers per year.

It may not seem like much, particularly in a cost of living crisis, but campaigners say it is a step forward and a signal to employers to do more.  Some already do offer paid carer’s leave, carer’s passports meaning people who move around a company don’t have to keep explaining their caring needs and the like.

Wellbeing company RedArc spells out below how employers can make a tangible difference in the lives of carer-employees by taking additional steps:

·       Given providing or arranging care for an elderly, disabled, vulnerable or seriously ill loved one can often be mentally draining, it says employers should ensure that mental health support is available within employee benefits programmes.

·    Signposting to charities and local support can be very beneficial as this can be time-consuming for carers who often feel isolated and benefit from sharing their experiences with like-minded individuals, building a vital sense of community with others in a similar situation.

·       Enabling access to clinical experts can help carers to know how they can best support the person they are caring for.

·       Providing support for carers’ physical wellbeing helps them to continue to support others. This could take the form of nutrition, fitness and wider wellbeing support to help the caregiver maintain optimal health.

·       Offering support to understand how carers can access financial experts such as the Citizens’ Advice Bureau and organisations such as Step Change can help carers meet money-related challenges.

Christine Husbands, commercial director for RedArc, says: “Caring can impact someone’s ability to work. In fact, it’s well documented that many people find the pressures of working and caring too much and choose to leave the workforce entirely. Having a week of clear headspace to provide or arrange care is real progress, but it needs to come hand in hand with much wider support to help carers stay in work, long after the unpaid leave is over.”

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