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    Carer’s Leave

Employees are entitled to unpaid leave to give or arrange care for a dependant who has:

  • a physical or mental illness or injury that means they’re expected to need care for more than 3 months
  • a disability
  • care needs because of their old age

The dependant does not have to be a family member it can be anyone who relies upon the employee for care.

Employees are entitled to carer’s leave from their first day of work for their employer. An employee will have their employment rights such as holidays and returning to their job protected during carer’s leave.

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Length of Carer’s Leave

Employees can take up to one week of leave every 12 months. A week means the length of time they usually work over 7 days. For example, if an employee usually works 3 days a week, they can take 3 days of carer’s leave. An employee can either take a whole week off or take individual days or half days throughout the year.

Only one week of Carer’s leave per employee may be taken every 12 months, but the week can be used for more than one dependant.

If an employee is a parent, they can also take up to 18 weeks’ unpaid parental leave to look after their child. This is in addition to carer’s leave.

If an employee wants to take carer’s leave in their first week, use the amount they’re expected to work in a week as the amount of leave they can take.

Applying for Carer’s Leave – Process

Employees need to give their employer notice before they want their leave to start. If the request is for half a day or a day, the notice period must be at least 3 days.

If the request is for more than one day, the notice period must be at least twice as long as the requested leave. For example, if the request is for 2 days, the notice period must be at least 4 days.

The notice period needs to be in full days, irrespective of the request including half days.

The request does not have to be in writing and employees do not need to give evidence of their dependant’s care needs.

If you need to look after someone in an emergency, an employee can take time off for this without giving a notice period.

Can an employer delay Carer’s Leave?

Employers cannot refuse a carer’s leave request but may ask the employee to take it at a different time. They can only do this if the employee’s absence would cause serious disruption to the organisation.

If an employer wishes to delay carer’s leave they must:

  • agree another date within one month of the requested date for the leave
  • put the reason for the delay and new date in writing to the employee within 7 days of the original request, and before the requested start date of the leave

If you need a carer’s Leave policy or advice on how to approach your employer to take carer’s leave, or believe you may have been dismissed or treated unfairly for a reason relating to carer’s leave call us we are here to help.