NEWS & RESOURCES

The Carer’s Leave Act 2023

The Carer’s Act 2023 was made into law in May 2023, but is unlikely to become in force until 2024.  The legislation will give employees a statutory right to take unpaid time off to provide or arrange care for a dependant with a long term care need, and not to be dismissed or victimised for doing so.

Definition of a carer

Under the Carer’s Leave Act 2023, the term carer mirrors that which is used for the right to time off for dependants.

It therefore applies to employees who provide or arrange care for a person who is a spouse, civil partner, child, parent, or a person who lives in the same household as the employee (other than by reason of them being their employee, tenant, lodger or boarder), or a person who reasonably relies on them for care.

Entitlement

Employees who are unpaid carers will be entitled to take up to one week (5 working days) of unpaid leave per year.  A ‘week’s leave’ is to be determined by reference to the number of days normally worked or required to be worked in a particular period. For example, a part time employee working a three day week would be entitled to three days of carer’s leave in any 12 month period.

The leave may be taken flexibly, either in individual or half days, up to a block of one week.

Eligibility

  • This will be a day one right (no minimum length of service required) for those with employee status.
  • The person cared for would need to have a long-term care need (namely a long-term physical or mental illness or injury, a disability, or issues related to old age. Limited exceptions to the ‘long-term care’ requirement will be included, such as for those diagnosed with a terminal illness.
  • The person receiving the care or having care arranged for must have a long-term care need, which is defined as:
    • any physical or mental illness or injury that requires or is likely to require care for more than three months
    • a disability as defined within the Equality Act 2010
    • a long-term care need that is connected with their old age.

Under the legislation, an employer cannot require an employee to provide evidence in a relation to a request for leave before granting the absence.

It will be a matter of trust that by providing notice to their employer of their request for leave, that the employee does so knowing that the nature of their absence is in line with their entitlements.

Employment protection

  • As with other statutory leave entitlements, employee’s will be protected from detriment for taking carer’s leave.
  • Dismissals or being victimised connected to exercising the right will be automatically unfair.

Further information

This legislation is on the back of a government consultation.  The full government response to this consultation can be found here here.

The employment Bill that was put forward to parliament can be read here.

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