Parent of two severely autistic children
Because carers’ allowances are not in line with paid employment and working arrangements are dictated by the needs of the person being cared for, it’s irrelevant whether there is any legal framework or not. The government should increase allowances in line with the commercial sector.
The government is wrong to restrict the definition of “carer” in the Work and Families Bill. For many people, those closest to them and the ones who care for them are often friends, not family. One in four families have step-parents. Some families are made up of same sex relationships. Such a narrow definition of who a carer can be is appalling.
Of course all unpaid carers should have the right to flexible working. In fact, they deserve this right probably more than anyone else! Commitment to rigid routines and timekeeping is often the main reason why people considering taking on voluntary work are put off from offering themselves for many activities, not just caring for someone.
All unpaid carers should have flexible working arrangements. Friends as well as relatives should be included in the Work and Families Bill. If people have been working all day and have to come home and care for someone, they need support. I would have direct payments for carers as well as service users; that way they could decide on support themselves.