Wed 06 Dec 2023

Carer’s Leave Act now in force

Carer’s Leave Act now in force but further regulations are required before the right can be exercised. Please note that this article was updated since it was first written to clarify that further regulations are required before employees can exercise the right.

The Act, which introduces a new statutory right to time off to provide or arrange care for a dependant, has come into force as of 4 December. However, further regulations are awaited before the right to take carer's leave comes into effect.  Once these further regulations are in place, eligible employees will be entitled to take up to 1 week of unpaid time off in each twelve-month period.  The right is a “day one” entitlement, with no need for any qualifying service. 

Further details are therefore expected shortly. It had been expected that the right would come into force around April but with the Act now in force, it is possible that the new rights will come into effect sooner than that.

The Regulations will provide further detail but we do know though from the Carer’s Act 2023 that:-

  • To qualify for the leave, you must be an employee with responsibility 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 house as the employee (other than by reason of them being their employee, tenant, lodger or boarder), or a person who reasonably relies on the employee for care. 
  • A “long term care need” is an illness or injury (whether physical or mental) that requires or is likely to require care for more than three months, a disability under the Equality Act 2010, or issues related to old age.
  • Employees will be able to self-certify eligibility – the fact the leave is unpaid makes it less likely it will be misused.
  • Employees will be able to make a complaint to an employment tribunal if their employer unreasonably postpones, prevents, or attempts to prevent the employee from taking carer’s leave.

If employers have not already done so, they should be ready to create or amend policies setting out the new right.


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