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Government reforms (2):  Response on carer’s leave 

What do we already know?

 In March 2020 the Government published it consultation on carer’s leave which set out proposals to allow carers to take one unpaid week per year to provide care. The care would be for a family member or a dependant who has a long term or significant care need. The consultation was clear that the Government was not considering the introduction of any entitlement to pay for this leave.

What’s new?

The Government has published its response to its consultation on carer’s leave (available here).  The Government has confirmed that carers will have a new right to one week of unpaid leave (five working days) each year to carry out caring responsibilities.

Legislation will be passed to introduce this when “parliamentary time allows” (so unlikely anytime soon).

The right will be available to those who qualify as employees from the start of their employment.  The leave will be available if the employee cares for their spouse, civil partner, child, parent, a person who lives in the same household as the employee (other than by reason of them being their employee, tenant, lodger or boarder), or a person who reasonably relies on the employee for care.

The leave can be taken either as a single block week or individual days and can be used to “provide care or make arrangements for the provision of care for a dependant who requires long-term care“. This is a broad definition and the new right is intended to help carers provide a person with personal and physical support, assist with official or financial matters and accompany them to medical and other appointments.

The Government has clarified that the objective of carer’s leave is primarily to support those providing care for someone with a “long-term care need“. This is because it is usually the impact of prolonged and ongoing care needs that makes it difficult for carers to balance their work with their caring responsibilities.

We will update you further once we know the date this will become law, so watch this space…

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