What You Need to Know About the New Carer’s Leave Act

December 12, 2023

By Damian Phillips

Last week, on 4 December, the Carer’s Leave Act 2023 came into force.

The Act gives employees new rights relating to caring for dependants. Our Employment Team looks at how the Act may affect organisations and what employers should be doing next to prepare for it.

The Carer’s Leave Act gives employees a day one right to take one week’s unpaid leave each year in order to provide or arrange care for a dependant with a long-term care need.

Whilst we await further regulations that will provide the detail, employees will not be able to exercise the new right yet, with the expected implementation date likely to be April 2024.

 

Who can take carer’s leave?

Carer’s leave under the Act can be taken by employees who are providing or arranging care for a dependant with a long-term care need. A ‘dependant’ includes a spouse, civil partner, child, parent, a person who lives in the same household as the employee, or a person who reasonably relies on the employee for care.

 

When may carer’s leave be used?

The Act defines a ‘long-term care need’ as an illness or injury (physical or mental) that requires or is likely to require care for more than 3 months, a disability under the Equality Act 2010, or care related to old age.

Carer’s leave will also be available where an employee makes arrangement for the provision of care. This may cover situations such as accompanying a dependant to medical and other appointments, helping with official or financial matters, and providing personal or medical care.

The Government has emphasised that carer’s leave should be used for long-term care and that other types of leave should be used for dealing with short-term care, such as “emergency time off for dependants” leave.

 

What are the practical considerations?

The Act provides that carer’s leave can be taken as the employee wishes, being in one block or as single days or half days. Eligibility can be self-certified and the employee will not be required to provide evidence (although employers may request evidence if they have grounds to suspect the employee is not being honest about their reason for taking the leave).

When requesting the leave, employees will need to give notice that is twice the duration of the leave being requested plus one day. Employers cannot deny the request, but are able to postpone it if they consider that the operation of their work or business would be substantially disrupted. Employees cannot be penalised for taking the leave.

 

What should employers do right now?

As a minimum, employers should ensure that they have a legally compliant carer’s leave policy in place by April 2024. This could be a new standalone policy or one that is added to an existing Staff Handbook. Please get in touch if you need help with putting a policy in place.

 

If you require assistance with any of the above, please contact a member of our employment teamDamian Phillips, on 02920 829 126 or DPhillips@darwingray.com for a free initial chat to see how we can help you.

Contact Our Team
Bríd Price
Solicitor
View Profile
Damian Phillips
Partner
View Profile
Fflur Jones
Managing Partner
View Profile
Fiona Sinclair
HR Consultant
View Profile
Heledd Ainsworth
Trainee Solicitor
View Profile
Nicole Brendel
Solicitor
View Profile
Owen John
Partner
View Profile
Rachel Ford-Evans
Senior Associate
View Profile
Seren Trigg
HR Consultant
View Profile

I have worked with Darwin Gray for a number of years and the level of service, professionalism and timely response is second to none. I would highly recommend Darwin Gray to any business.”

Becs Beslee, Dice FM Ltd

Darwin Gray have provided us with a first-class service for many years now. They really take the time to understand our business and develop relationships which results in advice and support that is contextualised and effective.”

Rebecca Cooper, ACT Training

We have worked with Darwin Gray for several years and have always found their services and advice to be first class.”

Karen Gale, Stepping Stones Group

An extremely professional and sincere company who make time for your queries and understand the need to break down certain facts and information to ensure everything is understood perfectly. I would highly recommend the company to anyone looking for any type of legal advice”

Gwawr Booth, Portal Training Ltd

PSS has worked with Darwin Gray for many years. We have always received an excellent service. Prompt and professional advice and support.”

Ledia Shabani, Property Support Services UK Ltd

We have used several departments within DG recently and we have been very pleased with an effective, efficient and down to earth service. Very happy thus far and I expect that we will continue to use DG.”

Guto Bebb, Farmers’ Union of Wales

Darwin Gray offer us truly superb services. Very professional, quick and services available bilingually which is very important to us, highly recommend.”

Iwan Hywel, Mentrau Iaith Cymru

My “go to” in urgent and time sensitive cases for direction, support and advice. The team are quick to respond to calls or emails for advice and support on all matters. Always explain complex matters in a way a lay person can easily understand.”

Margot Adams, Guarding UK Ltd