The Carer's Leave Act is due to come into effect for employers throughout Scotland and the rest of UK in early 2024. Here is what you need to know about the new legislation and how you can prepare your business for these changes.
History of the Carer's Leave Act
In June 2022 a Carer's Leave Bill originated in the House of Commons as a private members bill sponsored by Wendy Chamberlain MP for North East Fife. Carers UK worked closely with Wendy as the bill progressed through both the Commons and the House of Lords, finally gaining Royal Assent and becoming the Carer's Leave Act on the 24th May 2023.
What does this mean for Scottish employers?
When the Carer's Leave Act comes into effect, it will guarantee 5 days of unpaid leave to employees who are carers in their home lives. These days can be taken flexibly in individual or half days.
What is a carer?
This legislation refers to “unpaid carers” who care for someone in their home lives (not someone working as a professional carer).
An unpaid carer is someone who helps to look after a friend or family member who has a disability, illness, mental health condition, addiction or needs extra help as they grow older.
Being a carer is separate from caring for a child, unless that child has a disability or additional needs.
When will these changes come into effect?
We do not yet have a confirmed date for when the Carer's Leave Act will commence, however we expect this to be some time in spring 2024.
Check back here and we will update the date as soon as we have it.
Is the leave paid or unpaid?
For now, employers will only be required by law to provide unpaid carer's leave.
However, we would always recommend that organisations offer paid carer's leave wherever possible.
I am a Scottish employer, where can I get help with this?
You are in the right place! Carer Positive works with employers throughout Scotland to help them develop workplace support for members of staff who are carers. We can advise you on setting up carer's leave, as well as other types of support for members of staff who have caring responsibilities.
What else does Carer Positive do?
Employers in Scotland providing workplace support for carers can also become recognised with a Carer Positive Award. This nationally recognised award will enhance your reputation as an "employer of choice", as well as granting you full access to our range of information and resources, including reports, training resources, information and networking events.
Carer Positive is a project funded by the Scottish Government and delivered by Carers Scotland (which is part of Carers UK). It does not cost anything to work with us or become a Carer Positive accredited employer, making the scheme accessible for organisations of all sizes, sectors and locations throughout the country.
I am an UK employer but do not operate in Scotland, can you still help?
Unfortunately we are only able to work with Scottish employers or UK employers who have staff in Scotland, however you can alternatively get in touch with our colleagues at Carers UK.
What do I do next?
- Contact the Carer Positive team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Check out the rest of our website to find out more about the benefits of creating a supportive workplace for working carers.
- Watch the video below to find out more about the process of creating the Carers Leave Act, recorded by Wendy Chamberlain MP for a Carer Positive event in 2022 while the bill was moving through parliament.