New Employment Law sees unpaid carers entitled to carer’s leave

Tue 2nd Apr 2024

On the 6th April 2024 employment law will be changing with regards to Carer’s Leave. Currently, there are 5.7 million unpaid carers in the UK and yet there is no statutory leave entitlement for those also in employment.

With a slew of legislative employment changes on the horizon, it’s vital that employees and employers are prepared. What will carers be entitled to and what do employers need to know? Associate Steph Marsh explains…

Carer’s Leave Act 2023

New legislation entitled the Carer’s Leave Act 2023 has received Royal Assent and will become law on 6 April 2024, changing the law for those who require periods of leave to care for a dependent.

A dependent is classified as a person with a long-term care requirement, which includes those with either mental or physical illness requiring care for more than three months. It also includes somebody who has a disability as defined by the Equality Act 2010 and people who require care from old age. 

The person being cared for does not have to be a family member of the employee; they can be defined as a partner, child, or parent. It could also be somebody living within the same household, that isn’t a lodger, employee or similar, or more generally a person who relies on the employee for care provision.

How Long Can An Employee Take For Leave?

As of 6 April 2024, employees will be able to request up to one week per year of Carer’s Leave. This is calculated based on how many days the employee works within a 7-day week. For example, if a person works three days a week, they can have three days of Carer’s Leave.

This time can either be taken consecutively or as individual days. An employee can also request to take their leave in half days. The right to take Carer’s Leave stands from the first day of employment making it a Day 1 right.

Additional protections will also be afforded to employees, as, carers will be protected from detriment and dismissal for taking Carer’s Leave.

Does An Employee Need To Give Notice Of Leave?

Employees will need to give their employer notice of the intended Carer’s Leave in writing., giving either three days’ or at least twice the amount of notice than the period of leave requested must be given. This depends on which of the two is longer.

Furthermore, employees are not required to provide evidence or explain how the leave will be used. However, employees need to be providing long-term care to be entitled to Carer’s Leave.

Can Carer’s Leave Be Postponed?

Employers can postpone the period of Carer’s Leave if the requested dates will significantly impact the business., however, they must give notice of the postponement before the leave is due to commence. They must also state the reasons why the leave has been delayed.

Employers must allow the employee to take the leave within one month of the start date that was initially requested. If a postponement is requested, employers must also consult with the employee to agree on a date to reschedule.

Employment Law and Carer’s Leave

With this new legislation just around the corner, employers need to be prepared. We would advise you to review your current policies or create a new one to accommodate Carer’s Leave. This is also vital for helping your employees to understand their rights and responsibilities when it comes to requesting time off.

Coodes’ Employment team are here to help businesses keep up with regulatory changes and to help employees understand their rights at work. For more information, get in touch with Associate Steph Marsh or use our online contact form.

Tue 2nd Apr 2024

Steph Marsh

Head of Employment

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