Updates to Carer’s leave and Paternity leave banner


Updates to Carer’s leave and Paternity leave

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Carer’s leave

The Carer’s Leave Act 2023 introduces the right, from day-one of employment, for qualifying employees to take up to one working week of unpaid leave per 12-month rolling period to care for a dependant

From 6 April 2024, employees will be entitled to unpaid leave to give or arrange care for a ‘dependant’ who has:

  • a physical or mental illness or injury requiring care for more than 3 months;
  • a disability (as defined in the Equality Act 2010); or
  • care needs because of their old age.

The dependant does not have to be a family member, it can be anyone who relies on the employee for care.

The leave may be taken in either individual days or half days, up to a block of one week. The notice period to be given by the employee is either twice as many days as the period of leave required, or three days, whichever is the greater. The notice does not need to be in writing and an employer cannot require evidence in relation to the request before granting the leave.

Employers are entitled to postpone requests if business operation would be unduly disrupted, in doing so, the employer must give notice of postponement and why it is necessary.  Where postponed by the employer, leave must be allowed to be taken within one month of the original leave request.

Significantly, employees are awarded protection from detriment or dismissal if they choose to take carer’s leave.

The implementation of the above is likely to have a huge impact on employer’s up and down the country. In light of this, it is recommended that company policies amended to include these new provisions.

We recommend that relevant policies are reviewed and amended to incorporate reference to these changes.

Paternity Leave

From 6 April 2024 new flexibility is being introduced to the right to paternity leave. Previously eligible employees were permitted to take a single period of one or two weeks' paternity leave, within eight weeks of the child's birth or adoption, provided that they had given 15 weeks’ notice.

Where the Expected Week of Childbirth (EWC) is on or after 6 April 2024, those entitled to paternity leave will receive the benefit of the Paternity Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2024 as follows:

  • Employees can now take their two-week allowance in two separate blocks rather than all at once;
  • Employees will be able to take their leave at any time in the 52 weeks following birth; and
  • Only 28 days’ notice is now needed to provide intention to take paternity leave.
This article is for general guidance only. It provides useful information in a concise form. Action should not be taken without obtaining specific legal advice.
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    Written by Ed Heppel