FAQ's On The New Carer's Leave Act

Beginning on 6 April 2024, the Carer's Leave Act comes into force, meaning carers are now entitled to request 1 week's unpaid leave to provide and arrange care for their dependants.
UK Employment and HR
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Beginning on 6 April 2024, the Carer's Leave Act comes into force, meaning carers are now entitled to request 1 week's unpaid leave to provide and arrange care for their dependants. Here is a quick summary of what you might want to know:

Who can use carer's leave?

Any employee who has a dependant with a long term care need.

Dependants include any spouse, civil partner, child or parent of the employee, who live in the same household as the employee but who is not their tenant, lodger, boarder or employee or reasonably rely on employee to provide / arrange care.

A long term care need includes any disability as described by the Equality Act 2010, any care required for reason connected with old age, and any illness / injury (mental or physical) that is likely to require care for more than 3 months.

Do you have to have worked a certain length?

No – the right to leave is available for any employee no matter their length of service. It's available from day one of their employment.

How much leave is available?

A maximum of one week (5 days) unpaid leave in total can be taken over any rolling 12 month period for full time employees.

This can be taken in increments of half days or individual days, and do not need to be taken consecutively.

Are there any conditions for the granting of this leave?

The leave is available for the provision or arranging of care for the dependant.

The employee is required to give notice of their intention to take leave – the notice period is twice as many days as the period of leave required or 3 days, whichever is the greater.

There is no need for the notice to be in writing nor do they have to provide any evidence of their eligibility.

The employee will be entitled to all their normal benefits during any period of leave, apart from pay.

The leave cannot be denied (although it can be postponed).

What reasons can be used for postponement?

That the operation of the business would be unduly disrupted if leave permitted. We shall continue to review the matter for any further guidance published providing further clarification.

If postponed, the leave should be permitted within a month of the requested period.

Reasons for postponement should be given to the employee in writing within 7 days of the initial request, along with the permitted postponed dates.

Is this all the employer is required to do?

The above describes the minimum statutory requirement. An employer may provide greater protection if they wish i.e. by providing paid leave or flexible working arrangements.

If the contract of employment does offer a certain amount of days for carer's leave, but less than 5, then the employee is still entitled to the remainder of the 5 days as unpaid leave. For example, if the contract provides for 3 days of paid carer's leave, the employee is still entitled to 2 days unpaid leave in that annual period.

How can employers ensure they comply with this?

Employers are recommended to have a carer's leave policy in place. The employment team at Clarkslegal regularly review guidance and monitor policies and procedures to ensure their compliance.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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