By putting the correct measures in place, employers should be able to accommodate employee care responsibilities whilst maintaining efficient operations.
Employees have the statutory right to take unpaid time off work to deal with emergencies involving dependants without the risk of losing their job. Dependants include not only children but also the employees’ spouse/partner too. The length of time taken away from work must be agreed with the employer beforehand, but it is usually no more than one or two days.
In May 2023, The Carer’s Leave Act received royal assent, and will create a new statutory unpaid leave entitlement for employees who are caring for a dependant with a long-term care need. From 2024, these employees will be entitled to a week of unpaid carers leave. The Act aims to enable carers to better balance their caring and work responsibilities, supporting them to remain in employment.
Employees may be entitled to request flexible working conditions, such as changing their hours or working part-time to assist with caring for a child. This will depend on the type of work the employee undertakes but the employer should support them wherever possible.
There are several Acts in place to ensure parents and carers are supported following the birth of a child. The Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act provides parents and carers with up to twelve weeks of additional leave with pay in circumstances where a child requires neonatal care. This leave can be taken without impacting the standard amount of maternity or paternity leave already taken.
On 24 July 2023, the Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act came into force and allows for the extension of existing redundancy protections whilst on maternity leave, adoption leave, or shared parental leave to also cover pregnancy and a period of time after a new parent has returned to work.
There are a number of practical measures employers can take to ensure parents and carers feel supported at work and can balance their work and care-related responsibilities. These include:
Lodders’ employment solicitors offer accurate HR and legal advice to a wide range of clients who require “hands-on” and strategic assistance with the complexities of employment law. If you would like any further advice on care rights in the workplace, please contact Amita Chauhan or Damian Kelly.Contact us
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