10 things... that 10 countries are doing to support carers at work

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

In the UK unpaid carers can request flexible working hours, time off and leave for care, but paid leave is subject to negotiation between employers and employees, rather than a guaranteed right.

Carers UK is urging the Government to improve rights for people juggling work and care by introducing a new right of five to 10 days paid care leave, as well as a period of unpaid leave.

To mark our 10th year, we have taken a look at workplace rights for carers around the globe in 10 other countries…

1. Australia: Basic work entitlements are protected by Australia’s Fair Work Act (2009). Those who provide unpaid care and are in the workforce are entitled to request flexible working conditions and may be eligible for paid leave, unpaid leave and compassionate leave.

2. Canada: Canadian law prohibits discrimination based on a person’s family caregiving responsibilities. Federally regulated employees have job protection while they are receiving caregiving benefits and the right to request more flexible work arrangements.

3. France: An unpaid carer can request leave without pay to care for a loved one with loss of autonomy or disability for up to three months in a split way or in the form of part-time work.

4. Germany: The Act to Improve Compatibility between Family, Care and Work gives employees a right to partial leave of absence for up to 24 months if they are looking after a close relative requiring long-term care in the home environment.

 5. Ireland: The Carer’s Leave Act 2001 allows employees to leave their employment temporarily to provide full-time care, and to take carer’s leave of at least 13 weeks up to a maximum of 104 weeks. Carer’s leave from employment is unpaid but the job is kept open for the duration of the leave.

6. Italy: Nationally, unpaid carers are entitled up to 3 days’ leave per month. This leave is fully paid by the INPS (the national social security agency) or another social security agency. Up to 2 years’ unpaid leave can be taken in a staggered manner.

7. Japan: The Japanese government legislates for Family Care Leave (FCL) which entitles employees to 3 months unpaid leave to reconcile work and elderly care.

8. New Zealand: Carers have a legal right, under Part 6AA of the Employment Relations Act 2000, to ask for changes to their working arrangements in order to support someone close to them.

9. Spain: Unpaid carers are entitled to unpaid leave of up to two years to take care of a family member for reasons of age, accident, illness or disability.

10. Sweden: The Care for Related Persons Act (1988:1465) provides a right to leave for employees in connection with seriously ill relatives. Carers are entitled to leave for as long as they are eligible for compensation from the social insurance system. A carer is compensated for up to 100 full working days in relation to each person that is cared for, under the Social Insurance Code. The 100 days are tied to the person being cared for and if more than one relative is caring for them the days must be shared.


Sources: IACO, Family Carers Ireland, Carers New Zealand, Japan Institute for Labor Policy and Training and Thomson Reuters.

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