Unpaid carers of adults, as a group, have, until recently, been largely neglected by the EU. While a number of provisions of EU law – including anti-discrimination measures and protections for part time workers – may benefit (some) carers of adults in the workplace, the existing package of work–life balance regulation falls well short of a coherent approach to addressing the needs of this group. Growing concern about a crisis in social care across member states, linked to an ageing demographic, has recently focussed attention on inadequacies in the formal care sector; on the vital economic contribution of unpaid care; and on a projected rise in the need for care coupled with a decline in the availability of informal care as the population ages and family structures change. It has prompted interest both in the need to develop the formal care sector, with the opportunities this may present to create employment, and in the need to support ‘informal’ carers in the workplace. This paper explores the various policy drivers for EU regulation to support informal carers in the workplace and consider the potential difficulties in establishing a coherent legal response.