Carer's Leave Bill giving 2.4 million carers right to unpaid leave passes final hurdle

19 May 2023

Campaigners for carers in Hinckley and Bosworth have welcomed a new Bill becoming law which will give 2.4 million carers the right to unpaid leave.

The Carer's Leave Bill introduced by Liberal Democrat MP Wendy Chamberlain reached its final parliamentary stage today in the House of Lords. The Bill, which has been described by the charity Carers UK as a 'landmark' piece of legislation, has cross-party support and was passed.

The Bill will give an estimated 2.4 million carers across the UK a statutory right to take five days of unpaid leave per year, helping carers to better balance work and care.

Wendy Chamberlain introduced the Carer's Leave Bill last June after winning a place in the Private Member's Bill lottery. It has enjoyed cross-party support and has passed all its parliamentary stages unopposed so far. It will move onto Royal Assent to become law.

The Bill was backed by Hinckley and Bosworth Council last November when Lib Dem Councillor Michael Mullaney proposed the Council backed the Carers Leave Bill and this call was passed by the Council.

Michael Mullaney said "I'm delighted that this Bill has got through parliament. Here in Hinckley and Bosworth thousands of carers do tremendous work.

"Not only do these hard working carers give vital care and support to loved ones, they also save the public huge amounts of money with the work they do. The very least these devoted carers deserve is the right to unpaid leave for caring responsibilities."

"I'm glad Hinckley and Bosworth Council was able to support the Carers Leave Bill and I'm delighted that it is going to become law imminently."

Liberal Democrat MP Wendy Chamberlain said:

"Unpaid carers are the backbone of our society. I said that at the beginning of this process almost a year ago, and I believe it even more strongly today. Millions of people care for loved ones, doing everything from day-to-day physical caring, washing, dressing and feeding for those who cannot care for themselves, to things like shopping for a housebound elderly relative.

"Yet far too many unpaid carers go without adequate support and struggle to balance caring responsibilities and work. I have met with and heard from carers in North East Fife and across the country, and many have made the difficult decision to leave their jobs because they simply can't make it work.

"My Carer's Leave Bill is a first step to providing greater support. It will allow carers to take time off work to manage caring responsibilities. I hope that it will provide many people with the flexibility they need.

"I am also confident that the law will have benefits for employers too. Many businesses already provide a version of Carer's Leave to their staff and report reduced recruitment costs, and improved retention and wellbeing."