Law guide: Workplace

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Carer's leave and contractual issues

Carer's leave and contractual issues

Contractual rights to carer's leave

If you have a right to take carer's leave in your contract of employment, either the contractual right or the statutory right can be used. You can select and take the leave that's more favourable to you.

Terms and conditions during carer's leave

During your leave, you have a statutory right to continue to benefit from all the terms and conditions of employment that would have applied to you had you been at work, except for the terms relating to pay.

Examples of contractual terms and conditions that continue during carer's leave include:

  • Gym membership
  • Participation in share schemes
  • Reimbursement of professional subscriptions
  • The use of a company car or mobile phone (unless provided for business use only)

You will also be bound by any obligations in those terms and conditions

Continuous employment and carer's leave

Carer's leave counts towards your period of continuous employment, so will not affect the entitlement to other statutory employment rights that require a period of service, e.g. the right to a redundancy payment.

It also counts towards assessing seniority and personal length-of-service payments, such as pay increments, under the contract of employment.

Accrual of annual leave

You will not continue to accrue (build-up) your entitlement to statutory annual leave while taking carer's leave.

If taking carer's leave stops you from taking all of your annual leave before the end of the holiday year, this alone won't entitle you to carry that leave over to the next holiday year.

There are no restrictions on taking annual leave immediately before or after carer's leave.

Contributions to a workplace pension scheme

An employer and employee must maintain their contribution to the employee's pension during carer's leave if the pension scheme rules require them to do so, or if it's an obligation in the employee's contract.

If there's no such requirement, you may still make voluntary contributions if the pension scheme rules allow you to do so.

Returning to work from carer's leave

You will have the right return to the same job you had immediately before taking carer's leave. You have a right to return with the same seniority and the same pension and certain other rights, and on the same terms and conditions (including remuneration) that were as favourable as they would have been had you had not gone on leave.

You are also entitled to benefit from any general improvements to the rate of pay or other terms and conditions introduced while you were away.

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