What is the Carers Leave Act 2023?

You may have heard whispers about the Carers Leave Act 2023.

This shiny new piece of legislation became law in May 2023 and will come into force in 2024. It will give employees a new day-one right to take up to one week of unpaid carer’s leave per 12 months. 

The idea behind this is to make it easier for employees to provide or arrange for care for a dependent with a long-term care need. With more than one in seven people in any workplace being a carer, you may need to know the ins and outs more than you think! 

So, here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming changes and how you can get prepared.


What is the definition of Carers Leave? 

So, first things first, let’s clarify what is meant by Carer’s Leave. 

At its core, the definition of carer’s leave is an employee’s right to take time off work to arrange or provide care to a family member, a loved one or anyone who reasonably relies on them for care. It doesn’t apply to casual workers, and it is a totally new right for employees. As part of the legislation, you must provide written notice to your employee detailing their rights.


What does the Carers Leave Act 2023 state?

Now, onto the main event. The Carer’s Leave Act 2023 outlines the following points: 


  • Creates a new statutory unpaid leave entitlement for unpaid carers of a dependant with a long-term care need. 
  • Employees (not workers) will have a day-one right to take up to five working days of unpaid leave a year (the number of days will depend on their working week e.g. someone working 3 days a week would be entitled to up to 3 days leave)
  • it’s expected that employees will be able to take this leave in single or half-days with a notice requirement of double the length of leave requested plus one day
  • there will be limited scope for you to postpone (but not deny) the leave where “the operation of their business would be unduly disrupted” by serving a counter-notice
  • employees will not be required to produce proof of why the leave is required.


The government will shortly be publishing regulations to lay out the specifics of how the act will work and the specific date when it’ll come into force (this isn’t expected to be before April 2024).

It’s about making sure that those looking after someone close to them have the time and the space to do so without having to worry about work commitments. Helping employees delicately balance their work and care commitments is the essence of the Carers Leave Act. It also can bring untold benefits for your business, increasing trust and workplace engagement. Managing each case on an individual basis is key.


Who is entitled to Carer’s Leave? 

We’ve touched on this above, but to be clear on who’s entitled to carer’s leave under the new law:


  • Any employee who is also providing or arranging care for a dependant with a long-term care need is eligible.
  • It can be used for various purposes related to caregiving – the regulations will us more details on this
  • Employees should give notice (more on that when the government publishes the regulations).
  • Employees can self-certify, which means they don’t have to prove why they need the leave.


Does the new Act benefit carers? 

The Carer’s Leave Act 2023 is a game-changer for long-term carers. It gives them some breathing room, juggling the demands of caregiving alongside their professional lives. This leave offers a reprieve, ensuring they don’t burn out or feel pressured to choose between work and their loved ones.


Do employers benefit from the Carers Leave Act too?

The Act may seem a tad daunting if you’re an employer. But, balancing employee welfare with business needs correctly can benefit all parties, including your business. It’s important to note the following points: 


  • Recognising the leave requests and handling each situation accordingly 
  • Understanding pay entitlements during this period
  • Understanding when it may be reasonable to ask the employee to postpone the leave requested
  • Brushing up the main points covered in the Carers Leave Act to remain compliant with the new law


Getting prepared for the Carers Leave Act

Change is on the horizon, however, we don’t quite know all the details yet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be prepared! So, how about a few handy tips to 

  • Familiarise yourself with everything we’ve covered above in this blog post
  • Inform your team and managers about it.
  • Discuss how this will be managed in terms of workflow and replacements.
  • Speak to an Employment Law expert (like us!) for more specific advice on how to comply with the act.

And that leads us to the juicy part…


Carers Leave Policy

Having a robust carer’s leave policy is a good idea to help you make sure you’re compliant and show your employees that you genuinely care about their wellbeing. This can encompass the new entitlements and how the process will work in your business. 

Once the regulations have been released, we can support you with this – just call the number below or contact us here and we’ll be on hand to assist you with any queries you may have.


Support your carers with business-boosting HR advice from Citation

Feeling a bit unsure about how to get prepared? Don’t worry about it. Citation’s HR & Employment Law services are here to help. We can help your business support carers without damaging your day-to-day work with tailor-made policies, documentation, 24/7 advice, an online HR management hub, and more. 

Ready to ensure your business is compliant? Call 0345 844 1111 to speak to our team about your needs today, or fill in the form on this page and we’ll get right back to you. 

Want some further reading on your responsibilities as an employer? We have lots of other great online resources to help your care business stay compliant. 

How to support employees who are carers

Shared parental leave and pay guide for employers

Get more information

Pop in your details and we'll call you straight back

We'll get back to you as soon as we can.