Carer’s leave

By April Harrington
14 Mar 2024

The government has confirmed that under the Carer’s Leave Act 2023, employees with care responsibilities will have the right to take up to one working week (5 days) of unpaid leave per twelve months in relation to their care responsibilities. 

Who is eligible? 

Eligible employees must be unpaid carer’s or the primary person providing care to a person with a long-term care need. For example, this could be a person with a long-term illness or injury that is covered by a disability under the Equality Act or any issues that are relating to old age and/ or terminal illnesses. 

Can we offer advanced Carer’s leave?

Where there is no obligation for employers to pay employees that are on carer’s leave, as their statutory entitlement is unpaid (for eligible employees), but your business could choose to have contractual pay for those affected. 

If you do decide to take this route, you should outline the details in your company handbook and ensure that your employees are aware of the changes. Any enhanced payments should be offered consistently to ensure that your teams are treated fairly and equally. 

Where Carer’s leave is similar to what is already in place for dependents, this is a new entitlement that employers need to be aware of, factor into their policies and manage. To ensure that your HR teams and team managers fully understand the changes, provide them with additional training. This will inform them on how requests should be submitted and approved, while reviewing your business's staffing level to ensure the work can be covered. A Statutory Code of Practice is being released to provide employers with more details on how they can do this. 

To avoid the risk of discrimination, employers shouldn’t include Carer’s leave as an absence trigger in disciplinary action. Although, employers must keep track of any carer’s leave that an employee takes, this is to ensure they don’t go over their entitlement. 

If a situation arises where carer’s leave isn’t appropriate, employers should consider other types of leave. 

When does Carer’s leave come into effect? 

This is set to come into force on the 6th April 2024, for more information on how you can implement Carer’s leave into your company’s policy, get in touch with one of Croner’s dedicated experts on 0800 470 2819

About the Author

April Harrington

An experienced Senior Employment Law Consultant, who has worked for the group for over 9 years. April specialises in discrimination legislation. April has an extensive background in training, as well as recruitment and hospitality.

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