This years Carers Rights Day will be held on the 30th November 2018.
Carers Rights Day
Carers Rights Day is organised by Carers UK, and the objective behind it is to raise awareness of the lack of recognition, social exclusion, reduced opportunities, reduced mobility, low income, and the impact upon the mental and physical health of unpaid carers, caused by caring for another person.
A recent survey by Carers UK found that:-
- There are 6.5 million unpaid carers in the UK, which equates to 1 in 10 of the entire population
- 3 million unpaid carers have to juggle their responsibilities as a carer with work. That equates to 1 in 9 of the working population. It was also found that 60% of those who work did not know of anybody who had to juggle work with their role as a carer, which highlights the hidden nature of the issues
- 1 in 6 working carers have had to give up work at some point due to their responsibilities as a carer, whilst most of the 3 million working carers have had to reduce their working hours, a factor that has caused financial hardship for many
One of the other objectives of Carers Rights Day is to raise awareness amongst unpaid carers themselves that they were themselves are carers. This is because it is only when they themselves identify themselves as a carer, that they become aware of what their rights are and what support is available. Indeed, the aforementioned survey found that 52% of unpaid carers stated that their health had been adversely effected by the delay in identifying themselves as a carer, as they had missed out on the support that is available.
Government Considering Providing 5 Days Annual Paid Statutory Leave For Working Carers
On the 13th July 2018, the Government provided its response to a report from The Work and Pensions Committee, entitled “Employment Support For Carers“. In the Committees report, they recommended that: “There is a strong case for five days’ statutory paid carer’s leave based on the existing statutory leave system. We recommend the Government introduce this policy when resources allow and provide a full impact assessment for such a policy in response to this report.” In its response, the Government stated: “[The] Government is committed to explore the case for statutory carer’s leave……We have set up an official level working group (DHSC, DWP, BEIS, HMT) to work on this. This includes considering the practical questions that arise around introducing dedicated employment rights with the support of analysts so that any emerging carer’s leave proposal is most effective.” Nevertheless, Committee Chair, Frank Field, criticised the Government’s response overall on the basis that it had largely ignored the Committees other key recommendations, such as introducing the right to request flexible working from the outset of employment, as opposed to after 26 weeks continuous service. Mr Field stated that the Government “has barely paid lip service to an issue that is central to the lives of millions of people. I am sure it can do better for this country’s heroic and undervalued carers as well as their families. So we have taken the unusual step of inviting government to go away and try again.”