In some cases, an employee may meet the criteria to get government-funded parental leave payments, but not actually qualify for parental leave itself. Negotiated carer leave allows employees to take a period of unpaid leave to care for their child and receive parental leave payments, without having to actually meet the criteria for parental leave.
This agreement is beneficial for employees who fall outside the usual requirements for parental leave. For example, if an employee changed jobs and has not worked for the same employer for at least six months. Or if an employee does not work enough hours each week for a single employer.
An employee can ask to take negotiated carer leave if:
An employee must get permission from their employer before taking negotiated carer leave. They can ask their employer in writing or face-to-face and submit any information to support their case for wanting to take leave.
The employer must let the employee know whether they agree within one month of being asked.
It is lawful for an employer to refuse a request for negotiated carer leave. An employer may refuse an application request if:
If an employer declines the employee’s request to take negotiated carer leave, they must give a written statement explaining their reasons. If an employer does not provide a written response or does not give a fair reason for declining, they may face potential legal risks including investigation by the Labour Inspectorate.
Employers and employees can negotiate on the terms and conditions of negotiated carer leave. This can either be outlined in the employment agreement or put in writing when the leave is taken.
Some of the guidelines to include when writing a negotiated leave policy are:
For specific advice on how to calculate negotiated leave in your business, or for help writing and implementing a policy, contact Employsure on 0800 675 700.