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Are you ready? Carers Leave Act comes into force from 6 April 2024

The Carer’s Leave Act comes into force on 6 April 2024, which will affect all employers in the UK.

If an employee has a dependent with:

  • An illness or injury (mental or physical) that means they are expected to need care for more than 3 months, or
  • A disability that’s defined as such by the Equality Act 2010, or
  • Care needs because of their old age,

Then the Act gives them the right to unpaid leave to give or arrange care.

The dependent can be anyone who relies on them for care and not just a family member.

The entitlement to carer’s leave exists from an employee’s first day of work, and their holiday and returning to their job rights, as well as other employment rights, are protected during the leave.

Employees can take up to one week (pro rated for part-timers) of leave every 12 months, and this can leave can be taken in a block or split into individual or half days throughout the year.

The leave entitlement is per employee and not per dependent. Employees who need leave to look after their child can take up to 18 weeks, but this is separate to carer’s leave.

Employees are required to give notice when they want leave, and the Act sets out minimum notice periods. The request does not have to be in writing, and employees don’t have to provide evidence of the care needs.

The Act also sets out when an employer can delay carer’s leave. For more information, see: https://www.gov.uk/carers-leave

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