New legislation: Carer’s leave

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New legislation: Carer’s leave

Published 12 October 2021

The Government has confirmed that it will introduce a statutory right to carer’s leave.


In its response to consultation on carer’s leave, the Government has confirmed that it will introduce a ‘day one’ right to statutory carer’s leave.

Employees will have the right to take carer’s leave to care for a spouse, partner, civil partner, child, parent, a person who lives in the same household or a person who reasonably relies on them for care. The individual being cared for must have a long-term care need. This will be defined as a long-term physical or mental illness or injury, a disability (as defined under the disability discrimination legislation) or issues relating to old age.  There will be limited exemptions (for example, in the case of terminal illness).

Employees will be able to self-certify their eligibility for leave, which may be used for providing care or making arrangements for the provision of care for a dependant who requires long-term care. This could include providing care for someone who reasonably depends on the employee for care while their primary unpaid carer is taking respite.

Carer's leave may be taken flexibly, in either individual days or half days, and up to a block of one week. Employees will be required to give notice which is twice the length of the leave being requested, plus one day.  A leave request may not be denied, but may be postponed by an employer where they consider that the operation of their business will be unduly disrupted.

Those taking carer's leave will be protected from suffering a detriment for having done so, and dismissals for reasons connected with exercising the right to carer's leave will be automatically unfair.


This right will be introduced into legislation when Parliamentary time allows. We will update Employers further as to the precise date the legislation is to come into force. In the meantime Employers should start to consider preparations for a written policy to introduce this new requirement.

Carer’s leave - GOV.UK (


Hilary Larter

Hilary Larter


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Zoë Wigan

Zoë Wigan

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Joanne Bell

Joanne Bell


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