carers leave who is entitled to it
Finance

Who can claim carer’s leave?

5 min read |

If you’re caring for a loved one without being an officially employed carer, you may wonder, ‘Who can claim carer’s leave?’

There may be moments in life when you’re required to take some time off your paid employment and commit to care duties.

Carer’s leave is an employment right that every working person is entitled to claim as unpaid leave, so you can feel reassured if there’s a crisis.

This article will cover who can claim carer’s leave, who counts as a dependent, and how to balance a hectic lifestyle.

Here’s a summary of what we’ll cover:

  • Even if you are not a carer, it can be difficult to manage care duties and handle emergencies when you are working. 
  • Your workplace must offer unpaid time off for all employees who have someone who depends on them for care.
  • Claiming carer’s leave is an essential way to get support from your workplace when you need to care for a dependent.
  • There are other ways to support yourself, such as applying for state benefits and respite care to help you stay in control. 
discount for carers

Who can claim carer’s leave?

To put it simply, anyone in employment is entitled to claim carer’s leave if they have someone who depends on them to provide or arrange care.

This can be for a family member or a friend, and it’s part of your employment rights.

You can request and claim up to a week of unpaid leave and are entitled to have it from your first day of employment. 

As long as you give notice, you don’t need a written agreement or to provide evidence about your dependent’s needs. 

The Carer’s Leave Act

From April 6th, 2024, under the Carer’s Leave Act, individuals will be entitled to have statutory leave for up to a week to provide care. 

Although the legislation states up to a week of leave, this will depend on your working hours, so it’s best to check.

Individuals can take up to a week’s worth of unpaid leave every year if the person they care for is elderly, or has a disability or injury. 

This will allow carers to better balance their work commitments and care responsibilities.

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Will I get paid for carer’s leave?

Depending on your employer, they may or may not give you paid carer’s leave so make sure to ask. 

It’s important to check your employment contract and agreed terms, you can also ask your HR team. 

If you are entitled to be paid, then it’s best to contact your recruitment team or HR to discuss any concerns or issues.  

However, you are legally entitled to unpaid carer’s leave, so your employer must grant it regardless. 

 

worried about elderly parents

How do I claim carer’s leave?

You can claim carer’s leave by asking your employer about booking necessary time off when a care emergency arises.

It’s advised to give your employer a minimum 3-day notice, but this may be longer depending on your work policy.

Using carer’s leave means you can have more flexibility between work and care commitments. 

It’s beneficial to claim any carers leave you get, as everyone is entitled to claim due to the new Carer’s Leave Act.

How to approach asking for time off to care for your dependent

It can be overwhelming to care for a dependent whilst being in full or part-time work, so every bit of rest time helps.

Taking regular breaks during your working days and planning caring hours can allow you to recover if you’ve been caring for a dependent. 

Being transparent with your line manager and workplace about your caring needs can give you peace of mind and relieve stress.

Negotiating flexible working hours and even talking to close friends and family can be beneficial ways to help you cope better.

Managing care responsibilities

If you are caring for your dependent more over time, then you can apply to be a full-time or part-time carer. 

However, this may come with some regulations, such as stopping or limiting your work hours. 

If your dependent has a disability or is considered to have a long-term illness, then you can claim disability benefits. 

If they are elderly and above pension age, then state benefits are another way to get financial support when managing care needs.

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Life as a carer

If you are caring for a dependent, then you may have feelings of anticipatory grief when caring becomes more and more challenging. 

Acknowledging these feelings and seeking support can help comfort you and others who are also on the care journey of a loved one. 

Respite care for carers is a good way to give yourself a break when you feel the pressure of carer duties.

This type of respite such as weekend or day breaks can easily fit around your work schedule and still ensure your dependent is safe and secure.

compassionate leave

Understanding employee rights and compassionate leave

Compassionate leave and bereavement leave have no statutory limit; however, this depends on your workplace.

Typically, organisations will allow their employees to have a week off, but the timeframe depends on your company’s policy. 

Your workplace’s policy will let you know how much time you are entitled to claim and what exceptions can be made. 

If you’re looking for bereavement leave, this is different from carer’s leave so it’s best to ask your employer about time off for bereavement.

Why it's important to take time off to care

Although a week or a few days off may not seem like much time, it can make a positive difference if you are caring for a loved one.

Even if you’re not classed as a carer, your employer must offer this to any staff who care for a dependent. 

You may be caring for elderly parents or a relative, so you can use that week to manage care arrangements. 

Carer’s leave also can be claimed every year from your workplace, so it’s advised to take it when you’re able to.

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