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Understanding Carer's Leave: What You Need to Know about the New Legal Rules

The new Carer's Leave Act 2023 comes into force on 6th April 2024, this blog provides more information about what the new Act means for businesses and individuals.

What does the new Carer's Leave Act cover?

The new Carer's Leave Act has been introduced to support those who have to juggle working with providing care. From 6th April 2024, all employees will be entitled to unpaid leave to arrange care for a 'dependant'.

Why is Carer's Leave important?

Carer's leave is intended to support working individuals when they need to provide care. CarersUK state that carer's leave has the potential to support carer's health and wellbeing and helps recognise the value of carer's.

How is dependant defined within the Act?

The Act defines a 'dependant' as;

  • someone who has a physical or mental illness or injury which means they're expected to need care for at least 3 months or more

  • someone who has a disability as defined with the Equality Act

  • someone who needs care due to their old age

A key thing to point out is that the dependant doesn't have to be someone who is related to the employee who wants to take carer's leave.

When can employees request Carer's Leave?

Employees are entitled to carer's leave from the first day of their employment, which means it's a day one right.

How long can carer's leave be?

Employee can take;

  • One week of leave every 12 months

  • A week means the length of time they would normally work over a period of 7 days

  • They can take a whole week off or take individual days or half days throughout the year

Do employees have to give notice of taking carer's leave?

Yes, employees need to give their employer notice of taking carer's leave, this doesn't necessarily have to be in writing and the minimum notice that's required is 3 days. The notice being given needs to be at least double the amount of time that someone is looking to take off.

Do employees have to provide evidence that they are using the leave to care for someone?

The short answer is no.

Can employers delay request for carer's leave?

Technically, employers can asked employees to delay their carer's leave, but we'd urge employers to do this with caution. If someone needs to take leave to care for an individual it's unlikely that it's something they can delay and also potentially doesn't give the employee the right message in a time when they need support from their employer. Employers aren't able to refuse requests, but they can ask to delay requests.

Want a bit more advice?

Check out our YouTube video with all the employment law changes coming in April 2024 here

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  • All information within the post is provided for guidance only; always seek your own legal advice.

  • The information with this post was correct at the time of publishing, April 2024 but may be subject to change.

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