New entitlement to carer’s leave?
The Government has announced that it is backing the Carer’s Leave Bill, a Private Members Bill, introducing a new entitlement to leave for carers. The Government announcement states that an estimated two million of those providing unpaid care are thought to be doing so while balancing work alongside their caring responsibilities.
The Bill will introduce a new and flexible entitlement of at least one week’s unpaid leave per year for employees who are providing or arranging care for a dependent with a long-term care need. It will apply to employees caring for a spouse, civil partner, child, parent or other dependent who needs long-term care. The Bill provides that a dependent has a long-term care need if
- They have an illness or injury (whether physical or mental) that requires, or is likely to require, care for more than three months,
- They have a disability for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010, or
- They require care for a reason connected with their old age.
It will be available for eligible employees regardless of how long they have worked for their employer. Employees will be able to take the leave flexibly to suit their caring responsibilities and will not need to provide evidence of how the leave is used or who it will be used for.
Employees taking carer’s leave will be protected from dismissal or suffering any detriment as a result of having taken time off.
The Queen’s Speech in 2019 included an Employment Bill, which included the introduction of an entitlement to one weeks leave for unpaid carers. However, the Employment Bill was not introduced in the 2019 – 21 Parliamentary session and was not referred to in the 2021 or 2022 Queen’s Speeches.
The Carer’s Leave Bill passed its second reading in the House of Commons with Government support on 21 October 2022. The maximum duration for the leave and how and when it could be taken would be set through future regulations.
31 October 2022
If you would like to receive monthly employment law updates and news of our events, sign up for our email alerts.
©2022 SCRASE LAW LTD. THIS POST IS FOR GENERAL INFORMATION ONLY AND IS NOT ADVICE. YOU ARE RECOMMENDED TO SEEK PROFESSIONAL ADVICE BEFORE TAKING ANY ACTION ON THE BASIS OF THIS POST