The benefit is based on firsthand feedback from RSA’s employees who are carers - this revealed that annual leave was being used to support disabled dependents

RSA Insurance has launched a new leave policy for carers, effective from January 2023.

Under the new policy, colleagues with significant caring responsibilities will now be entitled to an additional five days of paid leave per calendar year – on top of their standard annual leave allowance.

To be entitled to this extra leave, employees will have to demonstrate they are responsible for providing emotional and practical support to a disabled dependent.

This includes looking after someone to keep them safe, or attending routine hospital, doctor or other appointments with the dependent.

Carers will still be entitled to the leave if their dependent is being cared for in hospital or another setting.

RSA, which employs 4,900 staff in the UK, said its new carers’ leave policy compliments its existing time out policy - available for all staff, this enables employees to take a month of unpaid leave for any reason.

The time out policy was launched in January 2022.

‘Important step forward’

RSA’s new policy is based on findings from its Families survey - this polled 103 staff between July and August 2021.

The survey revealed that many of RSA’s employees with caring responsibilities were using annual leave to fulfil these obligations.

Furthermore, feedback from attendees at RSA’s monthly Carers’ Cafe event - where around 20 to 30 people share their experiences of life as a carer - was also used as a foundation for the policy.

Helen Simpson, human resources advisor at RSA, described the new carers’ leave as “such an exciting” and “important step forward”.

She continued: “We appreciate our colleagues’ generosity and openness in sharing their personal circumstances, which has helped us shape and introduce this policy.

“We really hope it will have a positive impact on our carer colleagues, as well as the people they are caring for.”