Family Lives Responds To Carers UK: Census reveals major rise in numbers of unpaid family carers

“Family Lives understands the many difficulties that carers currently face when attempting to combine work with caring for young, disabled or older relatives. Carers currently have little statutory support for their caring roles which means that many rely on the goodwill of their employers to take periods of leave or find that they have to give up their jobs. For many carers in this situation there is a high risk of ending up in poverty or relying on state support.

Family Lives believes that more should be done to support carers during this stressful time and in particular where any children concerned are also likely to be vulnerable. Family Lives believes all employees with additional or exceptional care responsibilities should have the right to request flexible working to help them balance work and family commitments. Under new legislation employers are able to do this and we would encourage those that are reluctant to do so, to engage with Family Lives to explore the benefits of flexible working within the workplace. We support measures which would allow carers to take periods of unpaid leave - particularly when a child is at risk of going into care – and we support temporary transfers of maternity or paternity leaves to ensure that a child can remain cared for within the extended family. In this way, we also support proposals to financially support longer term carers through a National Financial Allowance; a cost effective solution which will reduce pressure on the care system.”

Jeremy Todd, Family Lives Chief Executive