Kinship carers

On 7 March 2024, Kevin Hollinrake MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business and Trade, urged companies to take “a very considerate approach” to employees in kinship care situations.

Without any government intention to introduce additional statutory rights, we look at how employers can support kinship carers.

What is kinship care?

Kinship care refers to a situation where a child is looked after by relatives or friends who are not their biological parents due to various circumstances that prevent the child from living with their birth parents.

Kinship carers face various difficulties and challenges stemming from their caregiving responsibilities and the circumstances that led to them becoming carers.

Statutory leave?

On 15 December 2023, the Department for Education (DfE) published guidance which sets out the statutory entitlements available to kinship carers and how employers can take further steps to ensure their workplaces are kinship-friendly environments.

On 14 January 2024, the Scottish Government published a copy of the letter sent by Natalie Don MSP, Minister for Children, Young People and Keeping the Promise, to the Secretary of State for Education and the Secretary of State for Business and Trade.  She called for kinship carers to have a statutory entitlement to family leave and be treated on an equal par with all parents eligible for parental leave. The Minister also expressed disappointment that family leave depends entirely on an employer’s goodwill.  

On 6 March 2024, during a debate on the Kinship Care Strategy in the House of Commons, David Johnston MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education, indicated that the government “continue[s] to explore what [it] can do” regarding statutory kinship leave.  


There are no current plans to provide statutory entitlements specifically for kinship carers. Depending on the circumstances, kinship carers may be entitled to flexible working, dependents and unpaid parental leave. 

The DfE guidance recommends that employers make their workplaces kinship-friendly environments through the following:

  • Signpost existing entitlements to kinship carers and fully consider any request.
  • Create a culture of support by understanding what it means to be a kinship carer, communicating relevant policies and embedding a culture of support.
  • Create a scheme for kinship carers or adapt existing policies to include kinship carers in an appropriate way for your business.

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