Carer’s Leave

The Carer’s Leave Regulations 2024 came into force on 6 April 2024.

Employees can now take unpaid time off to help dependants who need long-term care. The right applies from their first day of employment.

The maximum amount of carer’s leave they can take is one week in every 12-month period. This is still the maximum amount even if the employee cares for more than one person. If an employee works part time, one week for them means their normal working week. For example, someone who works two days per week would be entitled to two days of carer’s leave per year. If an employee works irregular hours, such as term time only or variable hours each week, employers should calculate the average number of hours worked in order to work out how much carer’s leave the employee can take. The minimum amount of leave which can be taken at any one time is a half day.

A dependent is classed as someone who relies on the employee for care due to old age, to a disability, or to an illness or injury which is likely to last for at least three months. The person does not have to be a member of the employee’s family. Employees can use the leave to accompany people to medical appointments, take them on holiday or on day trips or simply to provide meals and company.

Employees are not obliged to put their request in writing, nor to provide any proof of their caring responsibilities. They cannot be dismissed or treated badly because they have taken or requested carer’s leave.

Employees must give notice to their employer. This must be the greater amount of: double the length of the period of carer’s leave requested (rounded up to the nearest full day) and three days’ notice.

Employers cannot refuse carer’s leave, but they can postpone it if it would cause serious disruption to the business. In such scenarios, they must explain to the employee in writing why they need to delay the leave and agree another date when it can be taken, which must be within one month of the original date for which it was requested.

Employers and employees should bear in mind other types of leave which may be appropriate instead of, or as well as, carer’s leave. For example, parental leave or annual leave.

We are updating our client’s employment documents to reflect these changes. If you have any questions, please contact us by emailing or by phoning 01392 247436.

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