The Carers’ Act allows employees with 12 months continuous service or more to leave their employment temporarily to provide full-time care and attention for persons requiring such for a period of up to 65 weeks unpaid.*
*However employees may be entitled to Carer’s Benefit from the Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs.
Carers will have their jobs kept open for them for the duration of the leave. Carer’s Leave does not affect employment rights other than the right to receive pay, holiday and pension benefit. In order for employees to be entitled to take this leave the following will be required:
• A medical assessment that the care recipient (i.e. the person for whose care the leave is taken), is in need of full-time care and attention.
• If an employee does not live with the care recipient, a direct system of communication must exist between the employee’s residence and that of the care recipient: – An employee who wishes to apply for the Carer’s. Leave will not need to be related to the care recipient.
• At any one time, not more than one employee may take Carer’s Leave in respect of the same care recipient. There is however, one exception to this provision whereby the two care recipients reside together.
• An employee may not be dismissed because he/she exercises the right to avail of Carer’s Leave.
• Carer’s Leave may be taken in a block of up to 65 weeks, or in a series of lesser periods not exceeding an aggregate of 65 weeks.
Procedures and Enforcement
Disputes about Carer’s Leave entitlement will be referable (by an employee or employer) to a Rights Commissioner. Disputes in relation to medical assessments will be referable to Deciding Officers and/or Appeal Officers of the Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs.