Challenging Labour Law in the 21st Century
Edited by Nicole Busby and Grace James
Chapter 8: Care-giving and Reasonable Adjustment in the UK
Rachel Horton INTRODUCTION It is estimated that there are currently close to 6 million carers in the UK, approximately one in ten of the population. Of these, around half combine work and care. One in ﬁve carers give up work or turn down job opportunities because of their caring responsibilities (Carers UK 2009). While carers contribute an estimated £87 billion per year to the UK economy, calculated as the replacement cost of the unpaid care contributed by carers (Buckner and Yeandle 2007), the detrimental ﬁnancial consequences of caring to carers themselves (and consequently often, therefore, to those they care for) can be severe. For many carers the ability to combine work and care is not only essential to reducing the ﬁnancial impact of caring, but is also key to avoiding the consequent social exclusion commonly experienced by carers and those for whom they care. Various legislative initiatives have aimed to improve the position of carers who wish or need to work in recent years. These have included increased obligations on the employer in the form of the right to request ﬂexible working introduced under the Work and Families Act 2006; and increased obligations on local authorities to consider the wishes of carers to combine work (or other activities) and care in any assessment of their needs under the Carers (Equal Opportunities) Act 2004. The strategy has not, however, despite the opportunity provided by the recent enactment of the Equality Act 2010, involved an extension of the legal protection from discrimination...
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