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Right to Carers Leave

On 11 December 2023, the draft regulations for the Carer’s Leave Act 2023 were laid in Parliament and confirmed that the legislation will come into force from 6 April 2024.

Under these new regulations, UK employers are mandated to grant up to one week of unpaid leave annually to their employees. This leave is available to those caring for a 'dependent' with a 'long-term care need', allowing time for caregiving responsibilities, such as tending to an elderly relative.

Anticipated Impact

According to the National Office of Statistics, there are 2.8 million workers in the UK with caregiving roles and 350,000 employees annually choose to leave work to provide care for their dependents.

Under the new act, employees qualify for unpaid leave if they care for a dependent with long-term needs, easing the strain of balancing work with caregiving duties.

The leave period aligns with the number of working days per week, offering flexibility, and applies to all employee types, excluding contractors

  • The legislation extends across England, Wales, and Scotland.
  • Employees may take leave in half or full-day increments, including a continuous week if needed.
  • Notice requirements mandate advance notification to the employer, ensuring smooth coordination.
  • An employee does not need to notify their employer in writing regarding their request to take Carer’s Leave, although they can do so if they wish to.
  • Employees will have the same employment protections afforded by other family-related leaves, safeguarding against dismissal or detriment.

Pending Parliament approval, HR Duo will provide updates and anticipates guidance ahead of the April 6th, 2024 deadline.

Who counts as a 'dependant', and what is a 'long-term need'?

Dependents, as defined by the Carer’s Leave Act, encompass:

  1. Spouses, civil partners, children, or parents of the employee.
  2. Individuals residing in the same household, excluding certain categories.
  3. A person reasonably relying on the employee for care.

The dependent qualifies if they:

  1. Require care for over three months due to physical or mental injury.
  2. Are disabled under the Equality Act 2010, hindering day-to-day activities.
  3. Need care related to old age.

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