New statutory entitlement to unpaid carer’s leave to come into force on 6 April 2024

James Williams

The Carer’s Leave Regulations 2024 will introduce a new statutory right to unpaid carer’s leave for employees in England, Wales and Scotland, from 6 April 2024.
The regulations provide that an employee who has a dependant with a long-term care need (defined in section 80J(2) of the Employment Rights Act 1996) may take one week’s unpaid leave to provide or arrange care in each rolling 12-month period. The leave may be taken in either individual days or half days, up to a block of one week. The required notice period is either twice as many days as the period of leave required, or three days, whichever is the greater. The notice does not need to be in writing and an employer cannot require evidence in relation to the request before granting the leave. An employer may waive the notice requirement where the other requirements of the regulations have been met.
An employer cannot decline a request altogether but may postpone carer’s leave where all of the following apply:

  • The employer reasonably considers that the operation of the business would be unduly disrupted if it allowed the leave during the requested period.
  • The employer allows the employee to take a period of carer’s leave of the same duration, within a month of the period initially requested.
  • The employer gives the employee a written notice within seven days of the initial request, setting out the reason for the postponement and the agreed dates on which the leave can be taken.

During the period of carer’s leave, an employee is entitled to the benefit of all their terms and conditions, apart from the right to remuneration, and will remain subject to all of their usual obligations.

Where there is a contractual right to take carer’s leave, an employee will only be permitted to take advantage of whichever entitlement is more favourable. However, the employee will still benefit from the protection of the statutory scheme. As with other types of statutory leave, an employee will be protected from detriment and dismissal attributable to the fact that they took or sought to take carer’s leave.

Source: The draft Carer’s Leave Regulations 2024

James Williams – Solicitor

James Williams

I am a qualified Employment Law and HR Solicitor. I specialise in acting for schools and advise on all aspects of employment law and HR including attending employee meetings, advising senior leaders, conducting redundancy consultations, drafting contracts of employment, advising on policies and procedures and negotiating settlement agreements.