Law guide: Workplace

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Requests for carer's leave

Requests for carer's leave

Notice requirements

You must give your employer notice that you want to take a period of carer's leave.

You must tell them:

  • That you qualify to take carer's leave, i.e. you 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 enough notice.
  • How long you want to take and when

Your employer can't require you to supply evidence about your request for carer's leave.

Notice period

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

If you 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 you ask for 4.5 days or 5 days, you must give 10 days' notice).

Responding to requests

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

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

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

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

Complaining to an Employment Tribunal

You can potentially start a claim at an Employment Tribunal if your employer:

  • unreasonably postpones a period of carer's leave, or
  • stops (or tries to stop) you from taking carer's leave.

You 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 you compensation.

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