Fi Carers Leave Act

A Guide to the New Carers’ Leave Act

Published by
04th April 2024

A report issued by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development found that 72% of carers in the UK are providing care in addition to full-time paid work.

In response to this enormous number, the Carers’ Leave Act was laid before Parliament at the latter end of 2023, and from April 6th 2024, it will officially go into effect. So, what does this mean for employers?

The new Carers’ Leave Act will most notably introduce an entitlement to one week’s unpaid leave for employees with caring responsibilities. These can be taken as full or half days, and this leave will be a day-one right – that is, employees will have the right to request this leave from their first day of employment.

For employees to request this flexible leave, they will need to offer advance notice that is at least twice the length of the time being requested as leave, plus one day (for example, if an employee requests two days off, they need to make this request at least five working days prior).

There will be a variety of factors and criterion that have to be considered in order for a worker to qualify for this leave (are they a primary carer? Who is the dependant? Does the dependant have a long-term care need?). The finer details of the Carers’ Leave Act can be found here for employers to review.

This new Act is being introduced in order to highlight the need for employers to begin supporting those employees who double as working carers. Previously, a working carer was expected to use other kinds of leave in order to care for a loved one who was in need of care, such as flexible working arrangements or annual leave, but now this Act provides the entitlement to specific leave dedicated to these caring needs.

Therefore, employers should be ensuring that, before April 6th, they are updating or creating new policies that reflect this new legislation. They should also be communicating to their teams how to go about requesting this leave and what criteria has to be met to be entitled to it. Employers may also decide whether or not they want to offer this leave as paid leave either in full or in part, or whether it will be a week of unpaid leave.

At OrgShakers, we have always been passionate about the support of unpaid carers in the workplace, as those employers who can successfully recognize and support these workers are going to be in the best position to optimize their productivity. If you would like to discuss how we can help support your business in creating working carers policies, please get in touch with us.

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