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Carer’s Leave Act 2023 

The Carer’s Leave Act 2023 came into force on 6 April 2024, providing all carers in employment with a new statutory right to take five days of unpaid leave from work each year to fulfil their caring responsibilities. 

Find out how the Carer’s Leave Act 2023 could support unpaid carers to remain in work alongside their unpaid caring responsibilities. 

What defines caring responsibilities?

Employees may take one week’s unpaid leave (during any 12-month period) to care for:

  • A spouse
  • A partner
  • A civil partner
  • A child 
  • A parent
  • A person who lives in the same household
  • A person who reasonably relies on them for care and has a long-term care need.

Long-term care need is defined as:

  • A physical or mental impairment or injury that requires, or is likely to require, care for more than three months
  • A disability as defined under the Equality Act 2010
  • Issues relating to old age (although there will be limited exemption e.g. the case of terminal illness).

Carer's leave is a day-one right for employees i.e. the right to take carer's leave applies from the first day of work.

Carer's leave 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. 

How to provide notice for taking carer's leave

Employees will be able to self-certify their eligibility for carer's leave. 

Carer's leave may be taken flexibly, in either:

  • Individual days
  • Half days
  • Up to a block of one week (five working days), subject to giving the employer a notice period of twice as many days as the period requested
  • 3 days

Notice doesn’t have to be in writing and no evidence is required. The notice period can also be waived if other requirements have been met.  

Carer’s leave can be postponed by an employer if it will cause serious disruption to the business and the employee is allowed to take a period of leave of the same duration within a month of the original request. An employer must give notice of postponement within 7 days of the leave request, saying why and agreeing alternative dates to take the leave.  

How are employees protected during carer's leave?

  • During the period of carer’s leave, all usual terms and conditions apply, save for entitlement to pay, and employees are subject to all their usual obligations. If there is a contractual right to carer’s leave, then the employee can take advantage of whatever is more favourable.  
  • Employees are protected from detriment that occurs because they took or sought to take carer’s leave, or the employer believed they would.  They are also protected from dismissal where the reason or principal reason for employment ending was the exercising of the right to leave or a belief that they would exercise the right. 

Taking care of your own needs as a carer

Caring can be rewarding but isolating. As a carer, it's important that you can access information and support to help you look after your own needs. 

Our wellbeing guidance page for musicians with caring responsibilities offers advice and resources to help maintain your health and wellbeing whilst being a carer.