Carers Leave Regulations 2024
Carers Leave Regulations set to permit one week of unpaid carers leave for all employees.
The regulations which were put to parliament recently set out the basis on which an employee can request time off to care for a dependant with a long-term care need.
This will be a day one employment right which means that all employees will be entitled to this statutory right from the first day of their employment.
The leave referred to is for one unpaid week in any 12-month period, but the leave does not have to be in consecutive days and can be taken as single or half-days. Employees are required to provide notice for their request, of either three days or twice the amount of the leave requested, whichever is greater.
Employees that use, or propose to use, this leave will be protected from detriment and dismissal arising from them using their statutory right.
Why have these changes been proposed?
This has been proposed so that carers can take time off to care for their dependants who have long term health conditions. Carers UK found in 2019 that up to 600 people were having to leave employment as a result of not having enough support. It is anticipated that these regulations will provide some support as carer’s leave will be available to more than 2 million unpaid carers.
When will these regulations come into place?
They were put to parliament on the 11th December 2023 and are set to come into force on the 6th April 2024.
What are the implications for employers?
The essence of these regulations is to provide carers with an additional week of unpaid leave to care for their dependant, this will have to cost the business, not necessarily in paying the employees who utilise this leave (unless they choose to go above the regulations and provide paid carers leave) but in getting cover for that employee and in any human resources or employment law advice regarding the new regulations.
These regulations could provide some of the support that is currently missing in the employment relationship and in turn increase retention and decrease staff turnover. Although initially this change could cost businesses, it could also be used as a way to separate your business from others during recruitment, the week of unpaid leave is a statutory right however a good way to provide more benefits for your employees could be to offer paid or longer leave in these circumstances. This is not required by law and is also not expected of the employer.
If the leave is going to unduly disrupt the operations of the business then the employer can postpone this request for no more than one month and this must be with notice and before the leave is due to start. The employer must explain why it is necessary to postpone this leave as well as providing the agreed dates that the leave can be taken.
How can we help?
We can assist in providing advice and training for employers including drafting a carer’s leave policy for your business.
If you are unsure on where to start or would like further information on how to protect your business and assist your employees please contact one of our Employment team on 01246 555 111 or contact:
Amy Hallam, Head of Employment 01246 564 012 or email email@example.com
Ellie Leatherday, Associate 01246 564 002 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Georgia Jeonney, Trainee Solicitor 01246 564 035 or email email@example.com
Jade Taylor, Specialist Employment Paralegal 01246 564 058 or email firstname.lastname@example.org