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Usdaw calls for paid time off for carers

Date: 05 August 2020 Retail trade union Usdaw has responded to a Government consultation on a proposed new right for eligible employees to take one week's unpaid leave each year to provide care.
Usdaw General Secretary Paddy Lillis said: “Usdaw represents 400,000 members, the majority of whom are women. We estimate that at least three-quarters of our members are juggling caring responsibilities with work. The most common issues raised by members are the need to take time off to care, changes to working hours and being caught up in disciplinary procedures for taking time off to care.

“We welcome the opportunity to respond to this consultation that proposes a new, statutory right to time off to care. This proposed right must have broad reach, be accessible to low paid workers and available to all working carers regardless of their employment status.

“The proposal is for unpaid time off, but this would put it out of reach of many low paid workers who simply cannot afford to lose pay. Having access to paid leave is absolutely vital if low paid workers are going to be able to make use of both contractual and statutory family friendly rights. 

"The right should be made available to all workers from day one of employment and the definition of ‘carer’ needs to be broad enough to include the widest possible range of caring relationships.

“We hope the Government considers the evidence we have submitted to ensure that this much needed right enables all working carers to better balance paid work with their caring responsibilities."

Notes for editors:
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth biggest trade union with over 400,000 members. Membership has increased by more than one-third over the last couple of decades. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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The official website of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers