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Unpaid carers to be entitled to one week’s leave

But Queen’s Speech fails to deliver concrete plans for tacking social care crisis

Unpaid carers are to receive one week’s leave under new rules introduced by the government.

The Employment Bill also introduces flexible working as the default, unless employers have a good reason not to provide it.

Jon Greer, head of retirement policy at Quilter, said introducing a week’s leave is a welcome gift to carers, but it is not a remedy for the fact that two-thirds of people have cared for an elderly, ill or disabled relative.

“Many unpaid carers have had to sacrifice their careers and financial wellbeing to support their loved ones because it is a full time job. So while a welcome short term gift it is no replacement for the larger issues around social care and the role of unpaid carers,” he added.

Social care made another appearance in the Queen’s Speech, however there were no concrete plans except to say the government will look at the issue urgently.

Steven Cameron, pensions director at Aegon, warned the growing crisis in social care provision and how it is funded affects millions of individuals who are looking to find and fund appropriate care either for themselves or a family member. 

The Queen’s Speech repeated the Conservative Manifesto guarantee that no one needing care will have to sell their home to pay for it, and also referred to seeking cross-party consensus.

Huw Evans, director general at the Association of British Insurers, said: “We face many urgent challenges and today’s Queen’s Speech has the potential to deliver much-needed reforms on climate change, pensions, social care and building regulations. Insurers have a vital role to play in all of these areas and we will work with the government on behalf of our world-leading sector to deliver the best results for our customers, wider society and the UK economy.”