New entitlement for carers from 6 April 2024

The Carer’s Leave Act 2023 came into force on 4 December 2023 and was shortly followed by the regulations which bring the new entitlement into force, the Carer’s Leave Regulations 2024 (‘the Regulations’), being laid before parliament.

The Regulations, which are expected to take effect from 6 April 2024, enable certain employees to apply for up to one week’s unpaid leave per year.

Who will be entitled to apply for carer’s leave?

The new entitlement will be available to all employees who have a dependant with a long-term care need and who want to take time off work to provide or arrange care for that dependant.  Employees will be able to make an application from day one of their employment.

Does the one week’s leave need to be taken all at once?

No, requests can be in consecutive or non-consecutive and in half-days or full days.

What is the process?

Employees will be required to give notice of their intention to take carer’s leave in writing and provide at least twice the amount of notice than the period of leave requested (or, if longer, three days’ notice).

Employers will be able to postpone a request if the operation of the business would be unduly disrupted.  If an employer does this, it must give notice of the postponement before the leave was due to begin, explaining why the postponement is necessary.  The employer must allow the leave to be taken within one month of the original start date.

Is there any protection for employees who apply to take carer’s leave?

Employees will be protected from dismissal or being subjected to a detriment because they apply for, or take, carer’s leave (or the employer believes they are likely to do so).

If you have any questions or queries on the above proposed changes, please do not hesitate to contact a member of the AfterAthena employment & HR team.