The Government has confirmed that it will introduce a new right to carers leave. This will mean a right for unpaid carers to take up to one week’s unpaid leave per year. We are still waiting for the new legislation to take effect as soon as parliament have the time.
It will be a day 1 right for all employees and the leave will be able to be taken in half days, days or a block of one week. Employees will be able to take the leave in order to provide care or to make arrangements for longer term care for a dependant. This might involve personal care, helping with financial matters or medical appointments. Employees will have to give notice of their intention to take the leave as it is designed as a planned absence. The leave does not affect the employees’ rights for emergency time off for dependants leave. Employees will be able to self-certify their entitlement and will not be required to provide any evidence.
The carer relationship will follow the same definition of dependant in the existing time off for dependants right. Essentially this means the dependant can be a spouse, civil partner, child, parent, or someone living in the same household who reasonably relies on them for care.
Employees taking carers leave will be protected from detriment as a result and if an employee is dismissed as a result of taking carers leave, the dismissal will be automatically unfair.
These will be the minimum entitlements according to government statute, but employers can provide greater entitlements if they wish, including whether or not to offer paid carers leave.
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