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Policy Details

Version: 1.0

Reviewed date: 2024

Next review: 2027

Owner: HR Policy Team

Carer's Leave

The University is committed to supporting staff who maintain responsibilities as a carer alongside their job. We aim to work with our employees to facilitate a good work/life balance. The University recognises that many staff will have caring responsibilities at some stage in their lives and continuing to work while caring can help the physical and mental wellbeing of employees and provide them with social interaction outside of their caring role. 

Carer’s leave is designed to provide employees with a week’s leave (pro rata) per 12 month rolling period to provide or arrange care for their dependants with long term care needs. You must be providing or arranging care on an unpaid basis to qualify for the leave.  The dependant does not have to be a family member. It can be anyone who relies on them for care (see definitions below)Carer’s leave sits alongside but is separate to Emergency leave. The University paid element is however, linked. A pdf version of Carers Leave including a flowchart to support managers is available. 
* For simplicity we have referred to days but to mirror other leave it will be converted to hours (5 days = 36.5 hours)
 For the purposes of Carer’s leave the statutory definitions are: 
a person is a dependant of an employee if they
  • are a spouse, civil partner, child or parent of the employee, 
  • live in the same household as the employee, otherwise than by reason of being the employee’s boarder, employee, lodger or tenant, or 
  • reasonably rely on the employee to provide or arrange care, and 
a dependant of an employee has a long-term care need if they 
  • have an illness or injury (whether physical or mental) that requires, or is likely to require, care for more than three months, 
  • have a disability for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010 
  • require care for a reason connected with their old age. 
Caring is defined by the University as:  
  • Providing personal support e.g. interviewing and inducting a new third-party Carer for a dependant 
  • Providing practical support e.g. meeting a contractor/maintenance to talk through needs at a dependant's home 
  • Helping with official or financial matters e.g. completing paperwork for applications of allowances due to a dependant’s needs  
  • Providing personal and/or medical care e.g. attending a medical appointment with a dependent at their doctor’s surgery or hospital 
  • Making arrangements such as dealing with social services or the voluntary sector, moving someone into a care home, making home adjustments or adaptations. 
Employees must; 
  • be an employee of the University of Exeter when they make the application 
  • make the application after 6th April 2024 
  • meet the notice requirements set out below 
  • have a dependant with a long-term care need (see definitions above) 
  • want to be absent from work to provide or arrange care for that dependant 
  • not have exceeded the entitlement on previous occasions 
  • be providing or arranging the care on an unpaid basis 
Carer’s leave is available to all employees who meet the above eligibility and definitions. There is no length of service requirement for this leave. 
If an employee cares for more than one person,they cannot take a week of Carer’s leave for each dependant;they are entitled to a maximum of five days paid leave (pro rata) only in any 12-month period. 
The provision for Carer’s leaveis one week pro rata per 12 month rolling period. The minimum that can be taken is half a day of your working dayLeave can be taken as a whole week or on individual days.
Where less time than a half day is required, it may be more suitable for an employee to discuss making the time up with their manager at another time. 
Leave will be pro-rated for part time staff.
Leave cannot be rolled over into another 12-month period if not taken. 
The maximum Carer’s leave that can be taken is one week per rolling 12-month period pro rata, this may be a combination of paid and/or unpaid leave 

Employees will be paid for  

  • up to 5 days*University Carer’s leave per 12 month rolling period (pro rata) OR  
  • up to 5 days*University Emergency leave per rolling 12 month period (pro rata) OR  
  • a combination of both types of leave up to 5 days* per 12 month rolling period (pro rata). 

 Examples of how University Carer’s leave and University Emergency leave may be paid can be found in the examples tab below.

Employees must; 
  • Declare that they are entitled to take carer’s leave under the rules of the regulations 
  • Specify the days on which the leave is to be taken and the length of leave 
  • Give notice before the date the leave begins and in the following way 
  • Twice as many days as those requested in advance of the earliest leave date with a minimum of 3 days' notice given e.g. if 3.65 hours is required then 3 days' notice must be given. If 36.5 hours are required, then two weeks' notice must be given. 
  • Managers can choose to waive this notice requirement if operational requirements allow. 
Employees are not required to provide evidence in relation to a request for carer’s leave and a manager should not request evidenceApplications should be considered on trust. 

An employee should apply for Carer’s leave via Trent Self Service similar to booking annual leave but ensure that they choose the Carer’s/Emergency leave reason for leave and then the relevant sub section – Emergency Leaveor Carer’s Leave.  They should ensure that that they are applying for leave within the necessary notice requirements as stated under 'Notice requirements'

If you work different working hours on certain days/weeks, such as compressed hours, then you will still be able to take up to one week (5 days) of carer’s leave each year but the amount of pay you receive is capped at 36.5hrs (pro rata). This means that the amount of pay you receive may be affected if the total amount of time you take off is greater than 36.5 hours because of your work patternFor example, if your average working hours are 36.5hrs but you work two long weeks and two short weeks over a month, if you take five days’ Carer’s leave on a long week then you will only be paid 36.5hrs and the additional hours leave that you have taken will be unpaid and count towards unpaid Carer’s leave taken. 
If you wish to take a half day you will need to book a full day on trent, but add in 'notes' that you only wish to take a half day and also email so that they can amend this to show as half a day only. 

Managers will receive an automated request via email for the leave and should either accept or postpone the leaveIn the event of postponing the leave please follow the process below. 

If you wish to change or delete any Carer's leave once requested, then you will need to contact your line manager for them to amend your Trent record as employees do not have authorisation on Trent to make any changes to this type of leave.

A manager cannot refuse a carer’s leave request but can ask the employee to take it at another time if the operation of their area would be unduly disruptedThey can grant the leave at another time within a month of the first requested date. A manager must give this in writing (and send a copy to HR) setting out reasons for the postponement and the new agreed dates. This notice must be given within 7 days of the employee requesting the leave and before the earliest day or part day that the employee has requested. The new date should then be booked via trent 
Managers should ensure that they consider the needs of the individual and also the needs of the universityWhere possible, requests should be agreed but in the unlikely event that this is not possible, the manager should give clear reasons why and have a conversation with the employee to see if a mutually beneficial alternative can be agreedManagers should also consider the use of other types of leave, or making time up if this is more appropriate. 

The university offers a range of leave options for different circumstancesEmergency leave and Carer’s leave have different eligibility criteria and definitions and should be utilised in different scenarios. Depending on whether the employee has previously taken emergency leave or carer’s leave will impact on whether the leave will be paid or unpaid so it is important that employees and managers understand and apply for the correct leave. 

Emergency leave is to deal with an emergency, which covers a broad range of circumstances but does not cover pre-planned appointments or caring requirements in the future.  

Carer’s Leave only applies if the employee is taking time off “to give or arrange care” to a dependant with “a long term care need” (a long-term care need means a physical or mental illness or injury that means they’re expected to need care for more than 3 months; a disability (as defined in the Equality Act 2010); care needs because of their old age). The legislation requires notice to be given, so by implication the need must be known in advance. 

To illustrate the differences please see the scenario situations below and the leave that could be applied for (this list is not exhaustive):  



Time needed 

Leave to be taken: 

Completing paperwork for care allowances for a dependant 

Half day 

Carer’s leave 

Attending a specialist hospital appointment in another city with child who has a long-term illness 

Full day 

Carer’s leave 

Responding to a telephone call informing the Carer that their dependant has had a fall 


Emergency leave 

A child’s school or nursery has closed because of the weather 

Remainder of day 

Emergency leave 

An employee’s pipes have burst and there is a flood in their home.   


Domestic emergency leave 

A child is unwell and unable to attend school/nursery/childminder   

One day 

Emergency leave 


There are a range of alternative support options for Carers contained within the University’s policies, in particular:  

Flexible working: All Carers employed with the University who are seeking a change to their working arrangements for any reason can request temporary or permanent changes to their working patterns to suit their individual needs as a Carer. For example, the Carer may request 
  • a change to their start or finish times, to allow them to visit a disabled relative at key times during the day and provide assistance;  
  • part time hours for a temporary period to allow for caring responsibilities until e.g. the person cared for has finished a course of treatment or other care arrangements are in place. This period may be reviewed, amended or extended with the agreement of the University.  
Teaching restrictions: Academic employees can request annual changes to their teaching schedule. 
Ordinary Parental Leave: Carers employed by the University for one year or more can request up to 18 weeks’ unpaid Ordinary Parental Leave, to care for their child (up to the age of 18).  
Emergency Leave: In the event of an emergency involving a dependant and to make necessary long-term arrangements for their care, Carers can take a reasonable amount of dependant’s leave. This can be up to a maximum of five paid days Emergency leave per year. This can assist e.g. where an older parent falls, is unexpectedly taken to hospital or a child is sent home from school ill.  
Compassionate Leave: In the event of the death of the individual cared for by the Carer, compassionate leave may be sought in accordance with the policy.  
Applications for leave and amended working patterns noted above will be considered in accordance with the terms of the relevant policies. Whilst every effort will be made to accommodate Carers needs, this will be the subject of discussion and cannot be guaranteed. 

This policy should be read alongside the following policies:  

  • Emergency leave 
  • Flexible working 
  • Teaching restrictions 
  • Compassionate leave 
  • Career break 
  • Code of Practice on Managing Absence 
  • Parental Leave 
  • Purchase of additional leave 
  • Unpaid leave 

The below scenarios outline when Carer’s leave may or may not be paidPaid Carer’s leave is directly linked to Emergency Leave and so managers need to ensure that the correct leave is being applied forThe maximum amount of pay for both types of leave combinedis 5 days* pro rata. This list of examples is not exhaustive. 

These examples make the assumption that no emergency or carer’s leave has been taken in the preceding twelve months. 

Example 1 

A full-time employee applies for: 

  • five days* carer’s leave in April to support an elderly parent post operation. 
  • one day’s* emergency leave in December as the employees childsschool shuts for the day due to a frozen pipe.  


Paid leave allowance taken 

Unpaid leave 

Five days* carers leave in April  

Five days paid leave 


One day* emergency leave in Dec 

Paid leave has been exhausted 

One day’s unpaid emergency leave  

Example 2 

A full-time employee applies for:  

  • one day's* carer’s leave in February to attend a hospital appointment with their elderly parent.   
  • one day's* emergency leave in March as their child’s childminder is ill.  
  • one day’s* emergency leave in October as their parent has a fall, and the employee is requested to go to hospital with them.   
  • four days’ leave* at the end of October as the elderly parent has a planned operation as a result of their fall, to look after them post operation 


Paid Leave Allowance taken 

Unpaid leave 

One day’s* carer’s leave in February 

One day’s paid carer’s leave 


One day’s* emergency leave in March 

One day’s paid emergency leave 


One day’s* emergency leavein October 

One day’s paid emergency leave 


Four day’s* carer’s leave in October 

Two days paid carer’s leave (as maximum paid leave for both forms of leave is 5 days in total) 

Two days unpaid carer’s leave (no additional Carer’s leave would be approved in the next rolling 12 months as this allowance has been exhausted (max 5 days)Emergency leave does not have a cap but has to be reasonable so unpaid Emergency leave could potentially still be applied for. 

Example 3 

An employee who has a child with a disability requests:  

  • 4 days* Carer’s leave to support the child during planned treatment in March.   
  • 4 days’* Carer’s leaveinSeptemberas the child needs additional planned treatment. 


Paid leave allowance taken 

Unpaid leave 

Four days’* Carer’s leave in March 

Four days’ paid carer’s leave 


Four days’* Carer’s leave in September 

One days paid carer’s leave (as maximum paid leave for both forms of leave is 5 days in total) 

Statutory right to Carer’s leave is five days in total so employee can only request one of these days in September as Carer’s leave (paid or unpaid)The other days would need to be taken as paid annual leave or another leave type (with the approval of their line manager). 

Example 4 

An employee works three days a week (0.6 of full time)They request: 

  • one day* of emergency leave in February.  
  • Half a day’s* emergency leave in June due to sickness of their child.   
  • Half a days* carer’s leave in October to take their elderly parent to a hospital appointment.  

The employee is entitled to 3 days’ paid leave in total (the equivalent of 21.9hrs)As a part time employee, it is easier for the entitlement to calculated in hoursThe employee works 7.3hrs, three days a week.  


Paid leave allowance taken 

Unpaid leave 

7.3 hours emergency leave in February 

7.3hrs paid emergency leave 


Half a day’s leave (3.65hrs) emergency leave in June 

3.65hrs paid emergency leave 


Half a day’s leave (3.65hrs) carer’s leave in October 

3.65hrs paid carer’s leave  


 The employee has an allowance of 7.3hrs paid leave (emergency or carer’s) for the rolling12 month period and then between 1.5-2.5days’ (10.95hrs-18.25hrsstatutory unpaid carer’s leave depending on how the last of the 7.3hrs of paid leave has been taken.