THE CARER’S LEAVE ACT 2023

The Carer’s Leave Act 2023 came into force on 6 April 2024.  This enables employees who are unpaid carers to ask employers for up to 5 days leave.  The employees in turn are protected from dismissal for taking the leave. The Act means employees can take unpaid leave in full or half days, or in a whole block of 5 days every 12 months.

The leave can be used to take care of someone who they normally care for and who has long- term care needs.  This may be illness or injury likely to need care for at least 3 months, a dependant suffering a disability under the Equality Act 2010 or caring for dependants in their old age.

Who Counts as a Dependant?

An employee’s dependant can include:

  • Their husband, wife, civil partner or partner.
  • Their child.
  • Their parent.
  • A person who lives in their household (not lodgers, tenants, service staff)
  • A person who relies on them for care such as an elderly neighbour.

Minimum Notice Requirements

Employees must give advance notice. An employee does not have to put their request for leave in writing or give their employer evidence of the dependant’s care needs.

Number of Days Requested Minimum Notice Requirements
½ a day to 1 day 3 days’ notice
1.5 – 2 days 4 days’ notice
2.5 – 3 days 6 days’ notice
3.5 – 4 days 8 days’ notice
4.5 – 5 days 10 days’ notice
6 days (if an employee works 6 days a week) 12 days’ notice

Carers UK, which represents unpaid carers in the UK, estimates there are currently 4.3 million unpaid carers in the UK.  Emily Holzhausen, Director of Policy and Public Affairs at Carers UK, said “For the first-time employers will have to think about unpaid carers in their workforce. This is incredibly important because 600 people a day give up work because they’re unable to juggle work and care, so it’s going to help people to manage their caring lives as well as stay in work.

James Leo, Head of Employment Law at Wilkes, says:

I have spoken to numerous businesses of all sizes from small to large over recent months and awareness of the Act is limited to say the least.  Employers need to be aware of the right to ask for unpaid carer’s leave and to make sure that their policies are up-to-date.

Employers should note that carer’s leave is in addition to an employee’s right to take time off at short notice to care for a dependant.  Employers should be flexible about time off where possible.  If the employee cannot provide the minimum notice period, they could take time off to look after their dependant in an emergency in any event.

For further help and advice, please contact James Leo, Partner at Wilkes Solicitors on 0121 733 8000 or via email at [email protected]  You can also contact any other member of the Employment Team on 0121 233 4333 or email us at [email protected]

 

 

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