Did you know that it’s law for all UK employers to give employees who provide long-term care up to one week of unpaid leave per year? 

According to the State of Caring survey, “57% of people who had stopped working or reduced their hours at work to care said they had done this because of the stress of juggling work and care.”

Juggling work and personal life can feel like walking a tightrope, especially when you're also caring for loved ones. That’s where the Carer’s Leave Act 2024 comes in. As an employer, it's not just about ticking boxes for compliance; it's about supporting your team's well-being and helping them strike that work-life balance.

So, if you need more information on the Carer’s Leave Act, well you’re in luck! Our detailed guide will give you the lowdown on what the Carer’s Leave Act is, the regulations surrounding it and how this impacts you, your staff and your business. Let’s dive right in!

What is the Carer's Leave Act?

Officially rolled out on 6th April 2024, the Carers Leave Act is a piece of legislation that aims to safeguard carers' rights by providing support to those who have caring responsibilities for dependents (such as spouses, civil partners, children or parents of the employee, or somebody who lives in the same household). 

Previously, a working carer would often resort to using different types of leave to tend to a loved one's long-term care needs, like flexible working arrangements or annual leave. Now, it allows eligible full-time and part-time employees to take a full week of unpaid leave to carry out caregiving duties, without fear of repercussions from their employers. Even if they're caring for multiple dependents, employees can't request additional leave. 

Here’s a breakdown of how employees can choose to take their leave: 

  • half days 
  • full days
  • a whole week

Employees are entitled to a leave period matching their regular working week. For instance, if someone works three days a week, they can take three days of carer's leave. 

What can carer's leave be used for? 

As mentioned before, this type of leave should be used to deal with ongoing long-term care needs. What does this include? 

  • Caring for a sick family member: Employees can use carer's leave to manage the long-term care of a family member with a chronic illness. This might involve regular medical appointments or providing personal care. 
  • Supporting a disabled dependent: Carer's leave can also be used to assist a disabled dependent with mobility, administering medication and other daily activities under the Equality Act 2010. 
  • Providing end-of-life care: In situations where a family member is terminally ill or nearing the end of their life, carer's leave allows employees to be there for their loved ones during this challenging time.
  • Managing long-term recovery: For family members recovering from a major illness or injury, employees can take carer's leave to provide the necessary long-term support. This includes rehabilitation, physical therapy, and consistent care during the recovery phase.

Who is entitled to carer’s leave?

The Carers Leave Act extends its provisions to employees who have caring responsibilities for a dependent individual. This can include caring for a child, spouse, parent, or other family members who require assistance due to illness, disability, or age-related issues. 

Note: The law states that employers cannot demand evidence that you are a carer. It’s up to employees to inform their employer that you are providing care and are requesting leave.

Do you get paid for carer's leave?

One of the key aspects of the Carers Leave Act is that the leave is unpaid. Unlike other types of statutory leave, such as annual leave, maternity/paternity or adoption leave, carer’s leave does not come with a statutory right to pay. 

However, some employers may choose to offer paid carer’s leave as part of their company benefits package or contract. It's essential for employers to clearly communicate their policies on payment for carer’s leave to avoid any misunderstandings or disputes. 

What does the Carer's Leave Act mean for your business?

For employers, the Carers Leave Act 2024 is a commitment to supporting employees with caregiving responsibilities. By complying with the provisions of the Act, businesses can create a positive work environment where employees feel valued and supported. Additionally, accommodating carer’s leave can help improve employee retention and morale, as caregivers are more likely to remain loyal to employers who understand and accommodate their needs.

Can employers refuse carer’s leave?

The short answer is no. Under the Carer's Leave Act 2024, eligible employees have a legal right to take carer's leave to care for their dependents. However, employers are allowed to postpone or offer alternative dates for an employee's carer’s leave. Be mindful that any revised dates must be within one month of the originally requested dates.

If an employer denies a requested leave for whatever reason, employees have the option to escalate the matter to an employment tribunal. This course of action shifts the responsibility of defending against the claim and any potential compensation costs to the employer – if the claim proves successful.

Giving notice for carer’s leave 

However, it’s important for employees to request carer's leave as early as possible, giving employers ample time to make necessary arrangements. Here's what you need to know:

  • For a half day or single day of leave: Provide at least three days' notice.
  • For two or more consecutive days of leave: Give notice at least double the number of days you're requesting.

Manage carer's leave with ease 

If you’re looking to save time, money and resources when it comes to managing carer’s leave, (or any other leave type) then take advantage of our automated leave management software

With Timetastic, you can: 

  • Maintain detailed records of each employee’s leave entitlements, including carer’s leave. Managers can easily track who is on leave and plan work schedules accordingly.
  • Stay updated with instant app and email notifications of upcoming carer’s leave requests and take proactive measures to manage staffing levels and workload. 
  • Manage all types of leave, whether it’s carer’s leave, annual leave, or sick leave. 
  • Create and handle employee work schedules, taking into account any planned carer’s leave or other absences. 

So, why not start your journey with Timetastic today? 

Get in touch or start with a free trial now!