The Carer’s Leave Act received royal assent on 24 May 2023 and requires secondary legislation to bring its provisions into force.
The Government has now published, as a draft Statutory Instrument, the Carer’s Leave Regulations 2024 (available at https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2024/9780348254808) which will bring the Act into force on 6 April 2024 in England, Wales and Scotland.
Under the Act, which inserts new provisions into the Employment Rights Act 1996, carer’s leave will be available to eligible employees from the first day of their employment. Staff will be able to take the leave flexibly to suit their caring responsibilities and will not need to provide evidence of how the leave is used or who it will be used for, ensuring, the Government said, a smoother process for both businesses and their employees.
Employees taking their carer’s leave entitlement will be subject to the same employment protections that are associated with other forms of family related leave, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) confirmed, meaning they will be protected from dismissal or any detriment as a result of having taken time off. They have the right to return to the job in which they were employed before taking a period of carer’s leave.
The draft regulations set out the details of how the new system will operate.
They include conditions for entitlement which must be satisfied by the employee in order to take carer’s leave and which include substantive requirements for the entitlements such as falling within the definitions of a dependant with a long term care need (set out at 80J(2)(a) and 80J(2)(b) of the 1996 Act).
The regulations also give details of the procedural requirements to be satisfied by the employee, such as appropriate notice to the employer before taking leave. The required notice period is twice as many days as the period of leave required, or three days (whichever is longer), in advance of the earliest day of the leave and does not need to be in writing.
The one week of carer’s leave is to be taken within a 12 month rolling period with employees given the option to take the leave as half or full days, up to and including taking a block of a whole week of leave at once.
The process by which an employer can postpone a period of carer’s leave, where this would unduly disrupt the operation of their business, is explained. Employers must give notice as soon as is reasonably practicable and, following consultation with the employee, confirm a new date on which they can take the leave within a month of the original date(s) requested.
While the details are unlikely to be changed, it is important to note that the above relates to draft regulations which have still to be formally adopted by Parliament. It is expected that, when they are adopted, the Government will provide accompanying guidance.
Our HR Comment / Advice – Draft legislation will bring the Carer’s Leave Act into force in 2024 | Consensus HR – Herts, Beds
Matthew Chilcott , FCIPD, ACEL, BA(Hons) Owner of Consensus HR comments: “Following our blog yesterday which can be obtained by Clicking Here and all the changes to Employment Law we announced which are planned to come into effect in April 2024, here is another much needed one in relation to careers. However, business owners and managers are going to find it extremely difficult when managing their teams and will need support from their HR Departments or HR Consultants like Consensus HR. All HR Employment Law needs to be practiced correctly and to best practice and the law for the benefit and success of the business and all members of the team by ensuring companies act reasonably.”
Planned / Proposed Employment Law Changes for April 2024-
- Extended redundancy protection for maternity, adoption or shared parental leave.
- Proposed rates of SSP and family friendly leave announced – On 28 November 2023, the Government published its proposals for pay rates for family friendly leave, statutory sick pay, and the lower earnings threshold to be applied from April 2024.
- Employment Law Newsletter November 2023 (Click here)
- Consultation for Acas new Code of Practice
- Bonus clawback clause in contract not a restraint of trade
- Menopause Manifesto published.
- Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Act 2023 now in force.
- Remote working claims increase.
- New employment laws: update – 2023 /24 (click here)
- The new Laws are:
- Employment (Allocation of Tips) Act 2023
- Carer’s Leave Act 2023
- Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023
- Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Act 2023
- Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act 2023
- Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023
- Pensions (Extension of Automatic Enrolment) Act 2023
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