New Carers’ leave Act in the UK

Mar 26 | 2024

The Carers’ Leave Act 2023 comes into effect on 6 April, 2024 in the UK. This gives employees a legal right to one week of unpaid leave to undertake caring responsibilities.

The Act applies to all employees from the start of their employment. It can be taken by the employee to ‘provide or arrange care for a dependant with a long-term care need’.  It covers dependants that require care for an illness or injury that means they are likely to need care for more than three months, or for a disability, or those who require care because of old age.

The Act entitles employees to one week of unpaid leave every 12 months. It can be taken as individual or half days split throughout the year, or all at once. Employees will have to give at least three days’ notice to take leave or, for a request of more than one day, twice as long as the requested leave. 

Employers cannot refuse a request for carers’ leave but they can defer it if they consider it would unduly affect the operation of the business. Any deferment may not be for more than one month from the first day of the employee’s original request. Employers must inform the employee of a deferment as soon as practically possible but before the leave was due to start and no later than one week after the original request.

The Act provides a minimum requirement.  Employers are free to pay employees when taking this carers’ leave and to provide additional leave if they wish.