Carer's Leave Act 2001
The Carer’s Leave Act came into operation on 2nd July 2001. This legislation allows eligible employees the right to unpaid leave to look after someone in need of full-time care, during which time their employment rights will be protected.
Employers cannot refuse this leave.
A care recipient will be considered a “Relevant person” if they need continual supervision and frequent assistance throughout the day in connection with normal bodily functions or need continual supervision in order to avoid danger to themselves or others.
Employees will be considered eligible to apply for Carer’s leave if:
1) They have completed 12 months continuous employment with the organisation.
2) The person they wish to look after is considered a “Relevant Person”
3) The Employee will be providing full time care to the relevant person.
4) The Employee has provided the organisation with a decision from a deciding officer from the Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs.
The Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs will be responsible for ascertaining the validity of applications to avail of Carer’s Leave. Leave must be taken in either one continuous period of 65 weeks, or one or more periods, the total of which amounts to more than 65 weeks. The minimum statutory entitlement that may be taken in one period at the discretion of the employee is 13 weeks. An employer and employee may agree to terms more favourable to the employee.
An Employee who proposes to avail of Carer’s Leave must give written notice that they will be taking leave not later than six weeks before the date they are due to leave.
This notice must include:
- The proposal to take Carer’s leave.
- The date when Leave will commence.
- The manner in which it is intended to take the leave.
- Confirmation that an application has been made to the Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs that the person to be cared for is a "Relevant Person".
An Employee while on Carer’s Leave will be regarded as still being in Employment and none of their rights relating to employment will be affected. Absence from employment while on Carer’s leave shall not be treated as part of any other leave to which the Employee is entitled.
The Carer’s Leave Act prohibits an Employer from penalising an employee on the grounds that she/he has exercised his/her right to Carer’s Leave. This includes:
- Dismissal of the Employee
- Unfair Treatment, including selection for Redundancy
- An unfavourable change in the conditions of employment of the employee.