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Unpaid Carers Leave | An Employers HR Guide

Date 2 Dec, 2021 |
By: Claire Malley

unpaid carers leaveIn 2020, the Government consulted on the introduction of new Carer’s Leave into workplaces to support employees with caring responsibilities. It seems likely that this will be passed into law but the timeframes are not yet clear. The current Government stance is that it will be implemented when ‘parliamentary time allows’ however it is useful for employers to make themselves familiar with this new type of unpaid carers leave for when it becomes the law.

Unpaid Carers Leave

When it comes into force, this leave would apply to those employees who are unpaid carers. The employee would have to declare they have the caring responsibilities and the person receiving care must be:

    • a family member; or
    • a member of the same household, but not a tenant/lodger/boarder; or
    • someone who relies on the employee for care.

In addition, the care-receiver must have either a long-term care need or issues relating to old age. Some exemptions to this list are also being discussed and may alter this list in some way. Care that may qualify includes, but not limited to, care provision to the individual or making arrangement for the individual to be cared for by someone else/somewhere else, acting as a secondary care-giver if the primary care-giver is taking a respite, accompanying the individual to appointments (this covers all types of appointments and not only medical). It is important to note that, it is proposed that childcare is not covered by Carer’s Leave.

What is the Proposed Leave Entitlement?

      • The entitlement to leave would be a ‘day-one’ right meaning any employee is entitled to take this leave soon as they commence employment.
      • The duration of leave is proposed to be 5 days, unpaid, to allow the employees to carry out any caring responsibilities. The employees may take the leave as a five-day block or single days or even half days. All those who wish to take this leave would need to give notice of taking the leave.
      • This notice is proposed to be twice as long as the leave plus a day. Once requested, employers cannot decline the leave but may be able to agree a delay with the employee, in exceptional circumstances.

Employees are not expected to provide any formal evidence of their caring responsibilities and a declaration that they are a carer would suffice. A dismissal for taking Carer’s Leave will be automatically unfair.

For HR advice and support you can trust, get in touch with our Employment Law Consultants today.

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