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The Carer’s Leave Bill

The Carer’s Leave Bill introduces the right for employees to take at least a week’s unpaid leave per year in order to provide or arrange care for a dependant with long term needs.

With Government backing, it is likely to be passed by Parliament and become law which is a welcome step forward towards recognising and supporting the millions of unpaid carers who are caring for their loved ones.

The Bill provides more flexibility for carers who are employed as well as caring for a loved one.  Leave will be available to eligible employees from the first day of their employment and they will be able to take this leave flexibly to suit their caring responsibilities.

Who is a dependant?

A dependant is defined as the employees’ spouse, civil partner, child or parent, someone who lives in the same household (other than a lodger or tenant) or someone who reasonably relies on the employee to provide or arrange care for them. 

What is a long-term care need?

A long term care need is defined as:

  • if they have an illness or injury (whether physical or mental) that requires or is likely to require care for more than three months.
  • If they are disabled for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010
  • If they require care due to old age.

Employees will be protected from dismissal and detriment as a result of taking time off and they will also be entitled to bring an employment tribunal claim if their employer unreasonably postpones their leave, prevents or attempts to prevent them from taking it.

Although the Bill is progressing through Parliament it is not clear at this stage when the new right will be in force.

If you have any queries regarding employment law, please contact Lisa Aitken or if you are a carer and have questions regarding NHS continuing healthcare funding, please contact Judy Timson.

Lisa Aitken | Solicitor                                        Judy Timson RGN | Clinical Adviser



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