Kate Brooks

Partner, Solicitor & Head of Employment/HR Services

DATE PUBLISHED: 09 Apr 2024 LAST UPDATED: 15 Apr 2024

Time to care – employee right to Carer’s Leave

From 6th April 2024, employees who have someone that relies on them for care, have the right to take up to one week’s unpaid leave to look after their dependant. The right is to one week’s unpaid leave in every 12 months.

This is a day one right, meaning that so long as the employee has a caring responsibility, they will be able to request Carer’s Leave from the first day in role.

The employee can take the leave flexibly and does not have to be a whole week. The employee could take whole or half days through the year made up to one week.

The employee will have to give notice of double the leave requested, or three days, whichever is more.  For example if the request is for half or one day, the employee would need to give 3 days notice. If the request was for 3 days, the notice required would be 6 days.

There is no requirement for the request to be in writing or the employee to give evidence of the dependant’s care needs.

An employer cannot refuse a carer’s leave but can ask to postpone it if it would severely disrupt the employer’s business operations. If the employer delays, they must agree another date within one month of the date requested for leave; and put the reason for the delay and new date for the leave in writing within 7 days of the employee’s initial request for carer’s leave.

Like with other family friendly rights, employees who request or exercise right to take carer’s leave will be protected from detriment and/or dismissal.

What should employers do?

We recommend that employers:

  1. make sure that managers are educated and aware of the right to Carers Leave;
  2. implement a short written policy to sit alongside other family friendly leave policies such as emergency time off for dependants, and parental leave;
  3. while the legal right is to one week’s unpaid leave, an employer can use its discretion to enhance payment or the amount of unpaid leave depending on the circumstances; and
  4. consider sharing information and education in the workforce about carers, this could include sharing information about relevant charities.

How can Ellis Jones help?

With so many changes on the horizon in the Employment Law sphere throughout 2024, a careful and practical approach should be taken by employers to ensure that they are adhering to both current and future legislation. If you feel that you would benefit from assistance with updating your policies, navigating the new flexible working legislation and the practical impacts this could have on your business, or any other employment law or HR matter, please do contact us on 01202 525333 or by email at employment@ellisjones.co.uk, one of our team would be very happy to assist you.

How can we help?

When you submit this form an email will be sent to the relevant department who will contact you within 48 hours. If you require urgent advice please call 01202 525333.

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