New Carer’s Leave

By Rachel Davis

Principal Associate

On 6 April 2024, a new law comes into effect allowing employees one week of unpaid leave per year to provide care for a dependent with long term care needs. Employees are entitled to carer’s leave from day one of employment.

A ‘dependant’ includes a spouse, civil partner, child, parent, a person who lives in the same household as the employee (other than by reason of them being their employee, tenant or lodger) or a person who reasonably relies on the employee for care.

A ‘long-term care need’ is defined as a physical or mental illness or injury that requires or is likely to require care for more than three months, a disability under the Equality Act 2010 or issues related to old age.

Employees are required to provide notice of their requirement to take carer’s leave. The notice must be either twice the length of the time of leave being requested, or three days, whichever is the longest.

Employees can take up to one week of leave every 12 months. A ‘week’ means the length of time they usually work over 7 days. The leave can be taken as a whole week, individual days or half days, split throughout the year.

Whist employers are not able to deny an employee’s request for carer’s leave, they can defer it if they reasonably consider that the operation of the business would be unduly disrupted if the leave was approved. The employee must be allowed to take the requested leave within a month of their original request.

Dismissal of an employee for a reason connected with taking carer’s leave will be automatically unfair.  Employees are also entitled to return to the same job they were doing immediately before they took carer’s leave.

Employers are advised to update or create policies in relation to this new right and inform employees of the process for requesting and taking carer’s leave. Employers may wish to consider providing carer’s leave as an additional paid entitlement, enhanced in line with other leave entitlements.

If you require any assistance or further information please contact 0345 646 0406 or fill in our online enquiry form and a member of our Team will be very happy to assist.