A coalition of employers and campaign groups including BT, Ford, HSBC, Nationwide, John Lewis, Personnel Today, Counsel and Care, Working Families, Carers UK and the Princess Royal Trust for Carers is urging the government to introduce a tax break scheme for workers who care for elderly relatives.
One in eight adults is a carer or about six million people and more than three million people juggle care with work with more than one million people caring for more than one person. It is estimated that 1.25 million people provide more than 50 hours of care per week. The main carer’s benefit is 45 pounds for a minimum of 35 hours, equivalent to 1.26 pounds per hour.
The campaign proposes a system similar to the existing childcare voucher scheme. Through the scheme, employers would be able to provide a benefit in kind to their employees through the provision of vouchers capable of being redeemed only for qualifying care. This benefit would be exempt from both National Insurance contributions and PAYE. In addition, the administrative costs incurred by employers in supporting the scheme should be exempt from any PAYE or National Insurance liabilities.
Support for the campaign is being gathered through a tax breaks for carers petition organised by Personnel Today. The petition is supported by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and the Public Sector People Managers’ Association. It is planned to present the petition to the government in November to coincide with a national conference on Work Life Balance. The conference includes a session on ‘Who Cares Wins: business benefits of supporting working carers’.