q Supporting carers in the workplace: A guide to navigating the Carer’s Leave Act 2023 - Thrive Law

Supporting carers in the workplace: A guide to navigating the Carer’s Leave Act 2023

For Employers, Human Resources

Among many other changes to UK employment law this year, the Carer’s Leave Act 2023 has now come into force.

Having come into effect on 6 April 2024, how will the act apply within our workplaces?

We have put together the below guide to how employers can introduce the new legislation and how they can offer support to carers in their teams.

If you would like to explore other types of leave—both statutory and discretionary—read this comprehensive overview.

The Carer’s Leave Act 2023

The first step to understanding how to support carers in the workplace is to grasp the scope of their rights under the new legislation:

  • The act creates a statutory entitlement to carer’s leave, allowing employees to take one week’s unpaid leave per year to provide or arrange care for a dependant with a long-term care need.
  • A ‘dependant’ of an employee is any spouse, civil partner, child or parent of the employee. The act also includes anyone living in the same household as the employee, but not so far as including a tenant or lodger.
  • If the person reasonably relies on the employee to provide or arrange care, they will be a dependant and the employee will be entitled to leave under the act.
  • A ‘long-term care need’ is defined as a physical or mental illness or injury that requires, or is likely to require, care for more than three months. The definition further includes any person that has a disability under the Equality Act 2010, or any person that requires care for their old age.
  • It’s important to note that the employee is entitled to a period of leave that is equal to their usual working week, for example, if an employee works two days a week, they are entitled to two days’ carer’s leave.
  • An employee can choose to take the leave in the form of half days, full days or the full week in one go. An employee must provide notice before taking carer’s leave.

What can employers do?

Know the law

Making sure, as an employer, you know how the legislation affects your employees is vital:

  • The act requires that while on leave, employees must still be treated in accordance with their terms of employment. For example, this means employees still accrue holiday days and receive any staff benefits an employer may have in place.
  • Importantly, employees have a right under the act to return to the same job, following the leave.
  • The act specifically details an employee’s right to pursue an employment tribunal claim on the grounds of an employer preventing or unreasonably postponing their request for carer’s leave.

Know your team

  • Since the new act requires employees to satisfy certain criteria to be entitled to carer’s leave, it’s a good idea for employers to know who within their team has this entitlement.
  • This way, employers will know that requests for carer’s leave may occur and can have support in place for when they do.

Acknowledge their rights

Acknowledging the act and how this may affect employees is a proactive approach to implementing the new law:

  • This will make employees who do have a dependant feel seen and supported in the workplace.
  • This also gives employers the chance to communicate how their particular workplace will be incorporating the legislation, such as how and when to communicate notice and to whom.
  • A proactive rather than a reactive approach to this new legislation will help employees feel comfortable to request the leave and have a clear understanding of the process around it.

Update your policies

  • It is not a legal requirement for employers to create a new carer’s leave policy, however, it’s important to make sure any policies around employee leave and time off are updated and in line with the new legislation.
  • This again helps employees who may have little knowledge of the act themselves understand their rights at work.
  • Incorporating a carer’s leave policy into your staff handbook could be helpful in your workplace for employees as a resource to refer back to.
  • Employers are not under a legal obligation to pay staff during carer’s leave but may choose to—in which case, this should be made clear to employees.
  • Updating policies is a way of putting the new processes into writing, it helps both the employer and the employee have knowledge of a clear-cut procedure, and helps employers approve and monitor leave.

Employers that support their employees with carer responsibilities not only adhere to the new legislation but also foster a welcoming and supportive work environment.

This positive culture benefits both carers and the entire team, by contributing to a harmonious workplace and establishing the employer as compassionate.

The Outsourced HR and Employment Law team at Thrive is able to assist with updating your policies, advising on best practice and exploring how you can further enhance your discretionary entitlements to make your workplace more progressive.

Head over to our Outsourced HR and Employment Law page to find out more and book a free consultation with a member of our team.


Please note this blog is for reference purposes only and is only accurate at which the date it was published. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Specific Legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be sought separately before taking or deciding not to take any actions. Please contact us if you have any questions on enquiries@thrivelaw.co.uk.

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