Support for carers

Unpaid carer's leave

An unpaid carer is anyone who cares for someone who is ill, disabled, older, has mental health concerns or is experiencing addiction, and is not paid by a company or local authority to do this.

Employees' right to carer's leave

If you are an employee and an unpaid carer, you are entitled to a period of leave each year equal to your usual working week.

For example, if you usually work 3 days a week, you can take 3 days of carer's leave each year.

The right to take unpaid carer's leave applies from the first day of work. If you've been working for your employer for less than a week, your carer's leave is based on the number of days or hours you would normally work in that week.

You can take up to 1 week of carer's leave every 12 months. This leave can be taken as:

  • half days – this is the minimum you can take
  • full days
  • a whole week

Using your carer's leave

You can take carer's leave to give or arrange care for a dependant who needs long-term care.

Dependants can include:

  • your husband, wife, civil partner or partner
  • your child
  • your parents
  • a person who lives in your household – not including tenants, lodgers or employees
  • a person who relies on you for care, such as an elderly neighbour

A dependant has a long-term care need if they have any of the following:

  • an illness or injury that is likely to need care for at least 3 months
  • a disability – as defined in the Equality Act 2010
  • a care need related to old age

Examples of when you could use carer's leave include:

  • taking your disabled child to a hospital appointment
  • moving your parent who has dementia into a care home
  • accompanying a housebound dependant on a day trip
  • providing meals and company for an elderly neighbour while their main carer is away

More information

You can find out more at GOV.UK: Unpaid carer's leave.

The information in this page is also available in the video below.