Law guide: Employment

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Requests for carer's leave

Requests for carer's leave

Notice requirements

Employees must give you notice that they want to take a period of carer's leave.

They must tell you:

  • That they qualify to take carer's leave, i.e. they have a dependent with long-term care needs, need to provide or arrange for care, have not taken the maximum leave allowance and are giving you enough notice.
  • How long they want to take and when

You can't require employees to supply evidence about their request for carer's leave.

Notice period

If an employee wants to take a day of carer's leave (or half a day), they must give you 3 days' notice.

If they want to take more, the notice must be twice the number of days requested. For this purpose, half days are counted as full days (e.g. if they ask for 4.5 days or 5 days, they must give you 10 days' notice).

Responding to requests

An employer can't refuse a valid request for carer's leave.

However, you can ask the employee to postpone it if you reasonably believe that their absence during the requested period would unduly disrupt your business operations.

If you do this, you must first consult with the employee to try and agree on a new date that works for both of you. If you can't agree, you can choose the date – but it must be no later than 1 month after the date they originally requested (and for the same length of time).

Once the new date is set, you need to confirm it in writing along with the reason(s) for the delay. You must do this within 7 days of their request or before the requested start date (whichever comes first).

Complaining to an Employment Tribunal

An employee can potentially start a claim at an Employment Tribunal if you:

  • unreasonably postpone a period of carer's leave, or
  • stop (or try to stop) them from taking carer's leave.

Employees will have 3 months to start a claim starting from the date (or last date) when the leave was postponed or denied. This can be extended if it was not reasonably practicable for the complaint to be made within the time limit, but will depend on the particular facts of each case.

If a claim is successful, the tribunal can award the employee compensation.

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