The New Carers Leave Act to make Workplace Leave for Carers Law will make important changes, writes Fiona Collie, head of policy for Carers Scotland...

Carers’ charity supports new law that will give Scotland’s unpaid carers who juggle paid employment with caring the right to carers leave for the first time.

A total of 270,000 people in Scotland juggle paid employment with their caring responsibilities. The new Carer’s Leave Bill will introduce five days unpaid leave each year. Currently one in five carers give up work to care.

The peak age for caring is 45-54; a time where they can be an employer's most experienced and knowledgeable employees.

The Carer’s Leave Bill, led by Wendy Chamberlain MP and supported by Lord Fox, has received Royal Assent, meaning that it will become the law for all employers in Scotland and across Great Britain to provide carer’s leave.

A carer is someone who helps look after family or loved ones who are older, or have a disability, mental or physical illness. One in five carers give up work or reduce their working hours due to the pressure and stress of juggling work with caring.

With the peak age for carers being between 45 and 54, this means every year employers are losing some of their most skilled and experienced employees, while more carers face financial insecurity. With supportive employers offering this new right to carer’s leave, more carers and be helped to stay in employment.

This will make a massive difference to the millions of people juggling employment and unpaid care as they will finally get some support to help balance their work and caring responsibilities. Carers Scotland and unpaid carers themselves have been campaigning for decades for this key recognition of the needs of employees with caring responsibilities and we are delighted to see it come to fruition. With one in five carers giving up work to care; it is vital that employers are supported to play their part in preventing this loss of experienced employees.  In advance of the new law coming into force we’d urge employers to begin to look at what they can do, and our Carer Positive team is here to help.

Over the last 10 years, Carers Scotland, has worked closely with employers across Scotland to help them develop and deliver policies and good practice that support employees who are unpaid carers. This includes the Carer Positive award scheme which recognises carer friendly employers. Over 250 organisations currently have Carer Positive accreditation covering nearly half a million Scottish employees.

Visit  or contact to find out more about how we can help your business build support for working carers. 

Fiona Collie
Head of Policy and Public Affairs, Scotland & Northern Ireland
Carers Scotland