April 26, 2004
Multiple Sclerosis Society
Tony Blair has pledged to extend the right to request flexible working to carers of elderly and sick relatives. He said they should have the same rights as those introduced last year for parents in the workplace. Currently carers can only request time off for emergencies.
The Prime Minister told a meeting with carers and business leaders that he had been persuaded by the Government's 'Big Conversation' consultation. "It is time for us to look at how we can better support carers."
More than half the nation's 5.7 million carers are in work and many others would like to be able to combine caring with having a job. Details of the policy have yet to be worked out but Government officials said they did not want to draw up a narrow definition of carers.
Imelda Redmond, Chief Executive of Carers UK, said, "This is tremendous
news for carers struggling to juggle work and care. Our work over the years
has shown time and again that flexibility from employers helps carers to
stay in work longer. Employers also tell us that they get business benefits
from employees in terms of lower absenteeism and recruitment costs. In
return, they get loyalty from employees."
Copyright © 2004, Multiple Sclerosis Society