Parent carers to get right to unpaid leave next year

2 mins read

Friday 2 June 2023

Voluntary carers will soon have the right to take up to one week of unpaid leave a year to fulfil their caring responsibilities.

The Carer’s Leave Act 2023, which received Royal Assent last week, grants the new entitlement to all employees, regardless of how long they’ve been working for a company.

Unpaid carers – which includes anyone providing or arranging care for a relative or dependent – will be able to take the unpaid leave in half or full days.

The government expects the legislation to come into force in 2024. The Act applies in England, Scotland and Wales, but not Northern Ireland, where employment law is devolved.

What are my current rights to unpaid leave?

Parents have the right to up to four weeks’ parental leave a year to care for their children. This is usually unpaid, though some employers have more generous provisions.

While parents usually have to take this in one-week blocks, you can take parental leave a day at a time if your child gets Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

To be eligible for parental leave, you must have been working for a company for at least one year. You must also give at least 21 days’ notice for any leave you take.

Employees are also entitled to time off for dependents to deal with any immediate situations.