A reminder of some important changes introduced this month:

Carer’s Leave

Employees (from the first day of their employment) have the right to take one week’s unpaid leave every year in order to provide or arrange care for a dependant with a long-term care need.

Dependents are defined as:

  • The spouse, civil partner, child or parent of an employee;
  • Someone who lives in the same household as the employee (other than as boarder, employee, lodger or tenant)
  • Someone who reasonably relies on the employee to provide or arrange care.

A long-term care need is defined as:

  • An illness or injury that requires, or is likely to require care for more than 3 months
  • A disability (as defined in the Equality Act 2010)
  • Care for a reason connected with old age.

The one week’s leave can be taken in one block or individual blocks of days or half-days.

Employers should consider introducing a Carer’s Leave Policy.

Flexible Working Request Reform 

Employees can now:

  • request flexible arrangements from day one (removing the 26-week qualifying period)
  • can make up to two requests per year (increased from one)
  • rely on quicker response times (reducing the employer’s requirement to respond from three months to two months).

Extended Redundancy Protection: 

The previous law was that employees who were redundant during family leave had the right to be offered a suitable available vacancy (in preference to any other candidates).

This protection is now extended beyond the period of family leave to the period from the beginning of pregnancy up to 18 months from the expected date of birth/adoption placement date. 

Employers planning restructures and redundancies will therefore need to have systems in place to ensure that all protected employees can be identified in order to assess who has preference for suitable available vacancies.
Paternity Leave: 

  • Employees were previously entitled to take one block of either one or two weeks of paternity leave. The changes will mean that employees can split their two weeks leave into two separate one-week blocks if they wish.
  • Paternity leave will now be able to be taken at any point in the 52 weeks after birth (as opposed to the previous 56 day period)
  • Employees will only have to give 28 days’ notice of intention to take paternity leave

Employment Tribunal Award Limits: The annual adjustments to the compensation limits and other statutory payments have been implemented. Key increases are made to the cap on a statutory week's pay (£643 to £700) and maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal (£105,707 to £115, 115).

Read the other recent Employment articles:

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The content of this page is a summary of the law in force at the date of publication and is not exhaustive, nor does it contain definitive advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought in relation to any queries that may arise.

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