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Gosport MP welcomes carers leave legislation

By Linden Grigg

GOSPORT MP, Dame Caroline Dinenage, has welcomed the introduction of new caring rights as the “Carers Act 2023” came into force last Saturday (April 6); which introduces up to a week of unpaid leave for anybody with caring duties towards a dependent that has a long term care need.

The new legislation ensures that Carer’s Leave is a “day one right, meaning that it is available from the first day of employment and can be taken flexibly (in half or full days) for planned / foreseen caring commitment. More importantly the Act provides the same employment protections to employees as other forms of family-related leave such as maternity and parental bereavement; including protection from dismissal.

Statistics show that one in seven working people are juggling both work and care responsibilities; a task that is further difficult due to the toll that caring can take on everybody involved. Carers UK estimates that approximately six hundred people every day on average were leaving work to care for a close friend or loved one before the Covid-19 pandemic; which caused financial pressures and workplace stresses alongside other difficulties.

The MP for North East Fife, Wendy Chamberlain of the Liberal Democrats, first brought forward a Private Member’s Bill on this subject; which was approved and cleared the Commons back in late February 2023. Politicians from across the chamber have been thanked for their cross party support over the process of legislation, which has now ended as it became official law in the UK.

Mrs Dinenage has been instrumental in supporting this legislation through the House of Commons in her role as Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Carers. This group brings together MPs from across the political spectrum and allows them to work alongside policy / practice experts; their aim being to raise awareness, share knowledge, and improve understanding of the needs of unpaid carers in parliament.

The Gosport MP gave her thoughts in a press release that was published in the early hours of Saturday morning, in which she said: “There are 5.7 million people across the UK selflessly providing care for their loved ones and relatives and I am delighted that from today those of them balancing care and employment have new rights.”

“The importance of a right to a week’s unpaid leave cannot be understated. It’s a win-win for both carers and employers, which will improve staff retention and give unpaid carers the confidence to go into work knowing that they will not be penalised should an unforeseen emergency occur. I know from my constituency work, role as Chair of the Carers APPG, and former ministerial duties, how popular this new legislation will be with the nearly two-and-a-half million unpaid carers in employment in the UK.”

Readers can explore the updated regulations and extra text on this Act by clicking this link, whilst further information on new / draft legislation can be found via this designated Parliamentary website.

PICTURED BY ALAMY (2R6DJ82): Carers Act 2023 will give new protections and rights for unpaid carers after it came into force on Saturday (April 6).