It has recently been announced that the Carer’s Leave Act 2023 will come into effect on April 6th, 2024.

A draft of the new legislation was presented to Parliament on December 11th and is expected to soon be officially passed.

Who Is the Carer’s Leave Act For?

This new legislation aims to support employees in England, Scotland and Wales who have long-term caring responsibilities.

Figures show that approximately 600 unpaid carers quit their paid jobs every day because they're unable to balance their responsibilities. With an estimated two million workers providing unpaid care in the UK, and an aging population, the Carer's Leave Act could have a huge positive impact.  

What Does the Carer’s Act Entail?

When the new legislation comes into force, employees will be entitled to five days of unpaid leave every year to support the person they care for. This leave can be taken in full days or half days.

Anyone who is eligible to access leave through the Act will be granted the same employment protections given for all family-related leave. This helps to protect the unpaid carer against workplace discrimination.

How Will It Work?

If an employee needs to take time off to care for their dependent, they must provide notice to their employer in advance. This notice is required be at least twice the length of time they need to take off.

For example, if an employee needs two days off, they must give their employer at least four days notice.

This notice can be given verbally and does not have to be in writing.

A Win for Carers UK

Carers UK has been campaigning for this new legislation for several years.

Helen Walker, the Chief Executive of the organisation, said, “It’s really exciting to get the implementation date set out in the draft regulations, as well as the other details that we’ve been waiting for. Next April, we’re expecting over 2 million employees to be entitled to the new rights contained in the Carer’s Leave Act 2023 – something that we’ve been working towards for a long time.

"Our most recent research with carers builds on our strong evidence base to show that this will make a significant difference to their lives – helping with some of the stresses which come when juggling work and care.”

What Employment Rights Do Unpaid Carers Currently Have?

As an employee in the UK, you have statutory rights granted to you by law and contractual rights provided by your employer. 

Most employees are entitled to take time off work if an emergency arises relating to a dependent. Whether this leave is paid or not will be at the discretion of your employer.

Additionally, if you've been working for your current employer for more than six months, you have the right to request flexible adjustments to your working arrangements. 

Click here to read more about your employment rights.