The Carer’s Leave Act 2023 makes provision for employees who balance work with caring responsibilities to take at least one week of unpaid carer’s leave per year. The Act received Royal Assent on 24 May 2023 and it is expected to come into force in April 2024. In the meantime, the Government has introduced Commencement Regulations which insert the relevant provisions into the Employment Rights Act 1996.
Here is a reminder about what the Act provides:
- The Act gives employees the right to at least a week’s leave from work in any 12-month period in order to provide or arrange care for a dependent with a long-term care need. There is no minimum service requirement to qualify for this right.
- A person is a “dependant” for these purposes if they: are a spouse, child or parent of the employee; live in the same household as the employee (other than as a tenant or lodger); or “reasonably rely on the employee to provide or arrange care”.
- A dependent has a “long-term care need” if: they have an illness or injury which is likely to require care for more than three months; have a disability under the Equality Act 2010; or require care for a reason connected with old age.
- Employees are not required to supply evidence to support a request to take leave and employers cannot insist upon it.
- Employees cannot be penalised for taking leave under the Act.
It is still expected that the Carer’s Leave Act 2023 will come into force in April 2024. New Regulations will be made in anticipation of that setting out further details about the right, such as the extent of an employee’s entitlement to leave and how leave is to be taken.
In the meantime, employers should take steps to review policies and plan changes setting out the right of employees to take carer’s leave in these circumstances. Employers should also consider what systems may be needed both to deal with requests and to record and monitor the taking of leave.