How does Teresa May’s comment affect us looking after our elderly relatives? Her proposition is:-
Workers will be given a legal right to take a year’s leave from their job to care for elderly relatives. Their jobs will be guaranteed BUT they will not be paid.
It raises many questions. Key ones are:-
Around 2m people care for their relatives. Many face financial hardship. How many could take a year or more without pay?
How long would jobs be kept open? The new entitlement to care leave is likely to be modelled on a similar policy in Ireland, where workers can take between three months and two years off to help loved ones. Will businesses start selecting on the age and gender of their workers? How does it work for multiple relatives/friends?
The policy gives workers the right to look after relatives or friends who are considered by officials to be so disabled that they require full-time care but what are the criteria? what illness? which family members/ friends? Etc.
And finally, will the ability for a relative to help with care be in addition to the state support already available, so that it is truly an added benefit? It must not, in any form, be a replacement for state provision.
The good is that this is now on the agenda but the devil will be in the detail!
It is going out to consultation. Nothing will happen quickly. We need action not rhetoric.
What do you think are the most important issues the government need to address?