The government has published its response to the 2020 consultation on carer’s leave, confirming its intention to introduce a new statutory right for unpaid carers to take up to one week (five working days) of unpaid leave per year when Parliamentary time allows. The right will apply in England, Wales and Scotland.
Caring for the carers
We know from Scripture that God has a special heart for the most vulnerable in this world (e.g. Psalm 68:5), and as people after God’s own heart, we as Christians should more than anyone seek to lovingly care for those in need.
We should welcome therefore this small but significant introduction which will hopefully allow greater care of those most vulnerable people, but also better protect the health and wellbeing of the carers themselves.
How the new statutory right will work
Statutory carer’s leave will be available to employees from the start of their employment.
There is no requirement for the leave to be paid.
Employees will be able to self-certify their eligibility for leave. The purpose of the leave will be to provide care or make arrangements for the provision of care for a dependant who requires long-term care. This could therefore cover providing temporary care for a dependant when their usual paid carer is unavailable.
A dependant means a spouse, partner, civil partner, child, parent, a person who lives in the same household or a person who reasonably relies on the employee for care.
The individual being cared for must have a long-term care need. This means a long-term physical or mental illness or injury, a disability (as defined under the Equality Act 2010), or issues relating to old age. There will be some exemptions (for example, in the case of terminal illness).
The leave may be taken in either individual days or half days, up to a block of one week.
Employees will be required to give notice which is twice the length of the leave being requested, plus one day. A valid request can’t be denied outright but can be postponed by the employer where they consider that business operations will be unduly disrupted.
Employees making a request will have protection from being subjected to a detriment for doing so. It will be automatically unfair to dismiss an employee for reasons connected exercising the statutory right.
Caring for our clients
When the new entitlement is introduced, we will produce a new policy for our clients and update our Employment Pack. Those who have purchased an Employment Pack and signed up to our Premium service (see Employment Pack page for details) will receive these updated documents for free.