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New right to Carer’s Leave on track for 6 April 2024 implementation

New Carer's Leave
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Peninsula Team, Peninsula Team

(Last updated )

The Carer’s Leave Act 2023 introduces a brand-new right for eligible employees to have unpaid time off work to provide or arrange care for their dependant who has a long-term care need. The draft Carer’s Leave Regulations 2024 have now been laid before Parliament to introduce this new right in England, Wales, and Scotland, from 6 April 2024.

As well as providing the date when, subject to Parliamentary approval, this new right will be in force from, the regulations also give further information about how it will work in practice.

Who is eligible?

The right to take carer’s leave applies to employees who have a dependant with a long-term care need. It applies from day one of employment so there is no minimum service requirement and employees do not need to provide any evidence of their eligibility.

A person is a dependant of an employee if they:

  • Are a spouse, civil partner, child, or parent of the employee
  • Live in the same household as the employee, however, this does not include the employee’s boarder, employee, lodger, or tenant
  • Reasonably rely on the employee to provide or arrange care.

A dependant of an employee has a long-term care need if any of the below apply:

  • They have an illness or injury (whether physical or mental) that requires, or is likely to require, care for more than three months.
  • They have a disability for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010.
  • They require care for a reason connected with their old age.

When can the leave be used?

Carer’s leave can be used by employees to provide care, or make care arrangements, for a dependant who requires long-term care. The Government has previously stated that carer’s leave could be used for a wide variety of caring activities including providing personal support, providing practical support, and helping with official or financial matters.

How long is Carer’s Leave?

An eligible employee is entitled to a maximum of one week’s leave per rolling 52-week period. A “week” is the length of time that the employee would normally be expected or required to work in a week at the time of making a request to take carer’s leave. When an employee’s working hours vary or they have been employed for fewer than 52 weeks, there are set calculations to use to work out the week of leave.

Leave can be taken in multiple blocks or all in one go but the minimum amount of leave to be taken at one time is half of the employee’s working day.

How does an employee request Carer’s Leave?

Employees who want to take a period of carer’s leave should make a request to their employer. There are certain procedural requirements that the employee must satisfy as certain information must be included in the request and appropriate notice given to the employer before taking leave. The required notice is the longer of:

·       Double the amount of time requested to be taken as carer’s leave for that instance and

·       A period of three days.

The draft regulations allow carer’s leave to be postponed where an employer reasonably considers that the operation of the business would be unduly disrupted if the employee took carer’s leave at the time requested. Employers must give notice as soon as is reasonably practicable and, following consultation with the employee, confirm a new date on which they can take the leave within a month of the original date(s) requested.

While the details are unlikely to be changed, they are still draft regulations at this stage, so they still have to be formally adopted by Parliament. It is expected that, when they are adopted, the Government will also provide accompanying guidance.

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