Carer’s Leave Regulations

The Carer’s Leave Regulations 2024 have been laid before Parliament. They set out the statutory scheme under which employees can apply for up to one week of unpaid carer’s leave, in any 12-month period.

Key features are:

  • The right is a ‘Day One’ employment right.
  • The right applies to employees who have a dependant with a long-term care need and those who want to be absent from work to provide or arrange care for that dependant.

A dependant has a long-term care need if:

    • They have a condition that meets the definition of disability under the Equality Act 2010;
    • They have an illness or injury (physical or mental) that requires or is likely to require care for more than 3 months; or
    • They require care for a reason connected with their old age.
  • Requests can be in consecutive, or non-consecutive, half-days or full days.
  • Employees must give notice, in writing, of their intention to take carer’s leave – confirming their entitlement to take it and giving at least twice the amount of notice than the period of leave requested. Or, if longer, three days’ notice.
  • Employers cannot decline a request however they can postpone a request if the operation of the business would be unduly disrupted. In these circumstances, the employer must give notice of the postponement before the leave was due to begin and must explain why the postponement is necessary. The employer must then allow the leave to be taken within one month of the start-date of the leave originally requested. Rescheduling the leave should be done in consultation with the employee.
  • An employer cannot decline a request altogether but may postpone carer’s leave where all of the following apply:
    • The employer reasonably considers that the operation of the business would be unduly disrupted if it allowed the leave during the requested period.
    • The employer allows the employee to take a period of carer’s leave of the same duration, within a month of the period initially requested.
    • The employer gives the employee a written notice within seven days of the initial request, setting out the reason for the postponement and the agreed dates on which the leave can be taken.
  • Employees are protected from detriment and dismissal because they take, or seek to take, carer’s leave (or the employer believes they are likely to do so).

During the period of carer’s leave, an employee is entitled to the benefit of all their terms and conditions, apart from the right to remuneration, and will remain subject to all of their usual obligations.

Where there is a contractual right to take carer’s leave, an employee will only be permitted to take advantage of whichever entitlement is more favourable. However, the employee will still benefit from the protection of the statutory scheme. As with other types of statutory leave, an employee will be protected from detriment and dismissal attributable to the fact that they took or sought to take carer’s leave.

The Regulations are due to come into force on 6 April 2024 and employers should ensure that their policies are up to date. If you require a review of any current policies or a bespoke Carer’s Leave policy to be drafted for your company, then please contact Sarah Collier, Partner and Head of Employment or any member of the team on 01204 527777 (Bolton) or 01254 268790 (Blackburn) or enquiries@kbl.co.uk.

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