The Carer’s Leave Regulations 2024

The Carer's Leave Regulations 2024

Last year we wrote about The Carer’s Leave Act 2023 receiving Royal Assent and how it would eventually become law. Well, that time is now and from 6th April 2024, The Carer’s Leave Regulations 2024 will become a legal entitlement for all unpaid carers.  

These new regulations will entitle employees to unpaid leave, so they can give or arrange care for a “dependant”. The definition of dependant is:

  • a physical or mental illness or injury that means they’re expected to need care for more than 3 months
  • a disability (as defined in the Equality Act 2010)
  • care needs because of their old age

The dependant does not have to be a family member, It can be anyone who relies on you for care. Employees are entitled to carer’s leave from their first day of employment, and their employment rights are protected during carer’s leave. 

How long is Carer's Leave?

The amount of time you receive for Carer’s Leave is described as ‘upto one week for every 12 months’. However, the defintion of ‘week’ is where things can get a little confusing. A week does not automatically mean seven days or even 5 weekdays. What it actually means is the amount of days you would typically work in a week. For example, if you would typically work 3 days per week, you would be entitled to 3 days of Carer’s Leave.  

If you are someone with an irregular work pattern, or work different hours each week, then your leave will be calculated a little differently.

  1. Add up the total number of hours worked in the previous 12 months.
  2. Divide that toal by 52 (or however many weeks since starting the job, if employed less than a year).

This final number will be the amount of leave you will be entitled to. 

If you would like to take some Carer’s Leave in your first week of employment, your employer will use the amount you’re expected work in a week as the amount of leave you can take. 

You do not need to take all your leave at once but you can if you choose to. Carer’s Leave can be broken up into individual days or even half days. 

If you are a parent you would need to look at Unpaid Parental Leave, which would entitle you to upto 18 weeks of leave. These 18 weeks would be in addition to Carer’s Leave. Read more about Unpaid Parental Leave by clicking here. 


How to take your Carer's Leave?

You will need to give notice to your employer before you can take your leave. The amount of notice required is based on the amount of leave you want to take. For example: 

  • If you need to take a half day or a full day, then you will need to give at least 3 days notice.  
  • If the request if for more than one day then your notice period will be double the length of the leave.
    • If your leave is 2 days then you must give 4 days notice. 
    • If your leave is 4 days then you must give 8 days notice.

The request for leave does NOT need to be in writing. You do NOT need to provide evidence of your dependant’s needs. 

This does NOT affect your ability to care for someone in an emergency, for which you do not need to give any notice period. Read more about this emergency leave for family and dependants here. 

Can an employer delay your Carer's Leave?

An employer can not refuse your request for Carer’s Leave. However, they can ask you to make it a different time and can only do this when your absence would be a serious disruption for the organisation. 

If you agree to delay your Carer’s Leave then the employer 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.

Further help...

We have created a free e-learning course, specifically created to help you and the person/s you care for to create a contingency plan. Having Carer’s Leave is a tremendous help for those moments you can plan around, but what about when an emergency arises and you can’t be there? That’s where a contingency plan comes in. 

Take the course, It will take you around 20 minutes to receive forever-lasting peace of mind for your future. 

Related My Rights, Adult Carer, Finances, Young Adult Carer, Young Carer

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Raising awareness with BBC Radio WM

Our own Pauline Manby shared with Merisha Stevenson of BBC Radio WM, the work we do to help support and raise awareness for unpaid carers. Watch the segment here.

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