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How to Claim Carer’s Leave

Article by Daniel Westhead Daniel Westhead Sure Safe Alarms
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When you’re working full-time while caring for an older loved one, it’s crucial to make sure you draw on all the help that’s available. That could mean using helpful devices like lifting aids or personal alarms, or it could mean taking advantage of a new type of leave available to carers.

From 6th April 2024, employees have been entitled to take unpaid carer’s leave to provide care for dependants. While applying for this leave is not tricky, there are still some complicated details involved with claiming your leave.

So, how do you claim carer’s leave? Below, we’ll break down all the details about what you need to claim this leave and how much leave you might be entitled to.

Who is entitled to carer’s leave?

To be entitled to take carer’s leave, you need two qualities.

Firstly, you must legally be considered an employee. It’s not a problem if you are a part-time worker rather than full time. It’s also not a problem if you’ve just started your job – you are entitled to this leave from day one.

Secondly, you need to be taking the leave in order to provide care or arrange care for a dependant – someone who depends on you for care. That could be because they:

  • Have a disability
  • Need care because they are elderly
  • Need care for over three months due to sickness or injury.

Anyone fitting these criteria can be your dependant, even if they’re not your family. For example, Acas, the UK workers’ rights service, says that you can use carer’s leave to help an elderly neighbour who relies on you.

How do you claim carer’s leave?

There is no official form to claim carer’s leave. In fact, you don’t even have to claim it in writing, and you don’t have to give any details about your dependant to prove you need time to help with their care.

The tricky parts here are about timing. You need to give your employer the appropriate amount of notice before your leave, and you need to know how much leave you are entitled to.

How much notice do you need to give?

If you are asking for one day of leave or less, you need to ask at least three days in advance.

If you are asking for more than one day of leave, the notice period depends on the length of your leave. It should be twice the length of the leave you’re requesting. In other words, if you want to take five days of carer’s leave, then you’ll need to give ten days of notice.

Note: if it’s an emergency, you don’t have to give notice. This would then fall under the government’s rules for emergency time off to care for dependants.

How much time can you ask for?

You are entitled to a certain number of days in each twelve-month period of time. Note that this isn’t exactly the same thing as a year. For example, you can’t take your full carer’s leave in December and then take it again in January.

The government says that you can take “one week” of carer’s leave each twelve months.

But “one week” does not necessarily mean seven or five days. It means the number of days you work in a week.

In other words, if you are an employee who works one day a week, then you are entitled to one day of carer’s leave.

If you work different numbers of days each week, then your leave is calculated based on the average number of hours you worked per week in the last twelve months. To get this figure, just divide your total hours in that time period by 52.

Now let’s look at some frequently asked questions about carer’s leave.

Carer’s leave FAQs

Do I get more leave if I care for more than one person?

No, you get the same amount of carer’s leave per year regardless of how many people you care for. You can split that leave up between your different caring responsibilities however you’d like.

Can I take carer’s leave if I am considered a “worker” rather than an employee?

Unfortunately, no. Only employees are eligible for carer’s leave. If you’re not sure whether you’re an employee or a worker, take a look at Acas’ definition of an employee.

Can my employer refuse to give me leave?

No, but they can ask you to take the leave at a different time within a month of the dates you asked for. If your employer does this, they need to inform you in writing in a timely fashion. They should also only do this if there is a reason why your leave would cause serious problems for the organisation.

Will I get paid while I’m on carer’s leave?

Carer’s leave is defined by the government as unpaid leave. Your employer has no obligation to pay you during this leave.

However, your employer might have internal rules stating that they pay you for carer’s leave. It’s best to check with your employer’s HR department if you’re uncertain.

Can I claim carer’s leave for someone else?

No, an employee should claim carer’s leave from their own employer.

What other benefits are available to carers?

Carer’s allowance is a benefit all carers should be aware of. It’s for people who aren’t able to work or be in school full time due to their care responsibilities. To learn more, see our guide to carer’s allowance.

Attendance allowance is not a benefit aimed at carers – but your dependant might be eligible for it, which can be helpful.

How SureSafe provides support to elderly people and their carers

While it can be tough to juggle care responsibilities and work responsibilities, carer’s leave should help carers facing this difficult mix of obligations.

Another way to help manage these conflicting responsibilities is to draw on the power of technology. Personal alarms for the elderly are there for your older loved one when you can’t be – whether that’s because you are at work or just in another room of the house.

Either way, a personal alarm ensures that an older person doesn’t have to experience a crisis without any access to help. If a senior starts feeling unwell, they can simply press a button on their one-touch personal alarm to get in touch with an expert response centre or friends and family. What’s more, an alarm with fall detection will sense that its wearer has fallen and call for help all on its own. That’s why personal alarms provide peace of mind for both carers and their dependants.

SureSafe’s alarms are designed with these functions and numerous others that can help seniors out. If you’re curious about how a SureSafe alarm could benefit you, we’d love to chat with you. Just call us at 0800 112 3201, use our live chat, or request a call back.

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