Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 25th June 2018
Judith Cummins Labour, Bradford South
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to his Department’s publication, Carers Action Plan 2018-2020, published June 2018, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on providing employment rights to unpaid carers.
Caroline Dinenage Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
The Carers Action Plan set out our commitment to raising the profile of carers with employers to encourage them to improve their practices to enable carers to continue to work alongside their caring role.
Ministers meet regularly to discuss labour market issues. The question of dedicated employment rights for carers (alongside existing employment rights – such as the right to request flexible working and the right to time off for family and dependents) has been part of those discussions. The Carers Action Plan makes a specific commitment to consider the crucial questions around introducing dedicated employment rights.
The Action Plan makes the following explicit commitment on employment rights for informal carers:
– The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy are considering the question of dedicated employment rights for carers alongside existing employment rights (such as the right to request flexible working and the right to time off for family and dependents);
– We have set up an official level working group (the Department of Health and Social Care, the Department for Work and Pensions, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and HM Treasury) to work on this; and
– This includes considering the crucial questions that arise around introducing dedicated employment rights with the support of analysts so that any emerging carers leave proposal is most effective.