CARERS: Chamberlain to lead debate on Carers Leave Bill

By Lucy Ashton

LibDem MP Wendy Chamberlain, below right, will lead a debate in the House of Commons on her Carer’s Leave Bill, after which it will be voted on by MPs. The Bill would give carers the right to take unpaid leave and has cross-party support.

Ms Chamberlain’s Private Member’s Bill would give an estimated 2.3 million carers across the UK a statutory right to take five days of unpaid leave per year. Carer’s UK have described this as a ‘landmark’ piece of legislation which would help carers to better balance work and care.

The Bill will be debated in the House of Commons tomorrow, with the debate expected to begin between approximately 10:45am and 11am and last for up to 90 minutes.

It was previously scheduled for debate last month but was postponed during the period of national mourning.

Speaking in advance of the debate, Wendy Chamberlain said: “I am excited to debate my Bill in Parliament and hopefully to secure its passage to the next stage of becoming law. Over the summer I have met with unpaid carers in my constituency and beyond and have heard first-hand the difficulties they face. My Bill could make a real difference.

“Millions of carers across the UK have to juggle their work with the responsibilities of looking after of loved ones. Many find this impossible and are forced to leave the workforce, putting them in an extremely difficult situation. This Bill would give them some much-needed flexibility to cope with these challenges. It would offer a right to take time off to take loved ones to their hospital appointments, for example.

“I have also met with key employers who are supporting the Bill, including BT, Centrica, Nationwide and others. They recognise that Carer’s Leave will benefit their employees as well as their businesses through better retention of staff.

“Caring is fundamentally important and unpaid carers deserve much more support than they get now. I hope that my Bill will be part of that, and that with the support of people inside and outside of Parliament it will soon be on its way to becoming law.”

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