Marking Carers Rights Day, Carers UK released a new report which reveals the numbers of people having to leave work due to the stress of juggling paid work alongside unpaid care.
The findings come from their State of Caring 2023 survey, completed by over 11,500 carers, many of whom provide substantial hours of care to disabled, ill, or older relatives and friends.
40% of respondents said they had to give up work completely, with a further 22% reducing their working hours. Nearly half (49%) saw their incomes reduced by over £1,000 per month as a result.
The charity notes that this is not a niche issue: 1 in 7 employees in the UK are providing unpaid care.
Too many people have already had to give up work to care, due to a lack of understanding and support with their caring responsibilities – with thousands more people at risk of having to give up work or reduce their hours.
Carer’s Leave Act
There is some positivity in the Carer’s Leave Act 2023 and the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 – which may help more unpaid carers stay in work once legislation comes into force in 2024.
Government and employers need to work hard to raise awareness of carers’ existing and upcoming rights within the workplace, as well as the benefits of flexible working, so that carers can benefit from the upcoming changes.
Further change needed
Looking towards a General Election next year, Carers UK wants all political parties to commit to policies that would support more unpaid carers to juggle work and care as a core part of their manifestos.
They want this to include the introduction of two weeks of paid Carer’s Leave, a longer period of unpaid leave, and a commitment to continue to strengthen flexible working rights.
Read the full report: