The Carer’s Leave Act 2001 entitles employees to avail of temporary unpaid leave from
their employment to enable them to personally provide full-time care and attention for a
person who is need of such care, i.e. the relevant person. The period of leave to which
an employee is entitled is subject to a maximum of 104 weeks in respect of any one care
An employee may work up to a maximum of 15 hours per week during carer’s leave or
may attend an educational or training course or take up voluntary or community work for
up to 15 hours per week.
Entitlement to Carer’s Leave
An employee must fulfil the following criteria before they are eligible to apply for Carer’s
S/he must have completed at least 12 months’ continuous service with the HSE
before the commencement of the leave.
S/he must intend to take the leave for the purpose of personally providing full-
time care and attention for a person who is in need of such care for the duration
of the leave.
The person receiving full time care and attention must be objectively assessed
and deemed to be in need of full time care by a deciding officer from the
Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs.
Only one employee may be on carer’s leave in respect of any one relevant
person, at any one time.
An employee will generally not be permitted to be on Carer’s Leave in respect of
more than one relevant person at any one time. However, on one occasion only,
an employee may commence leave in respect of a relevant person, while already
on leave in respect of another relevant person, where the two relevant persons
Manner in which Carer’s Leave may be Taken
The Act provides that the leave should be taken in one of the following ways:
One continuous period of 104 weeks; or
One of more periods, the total duration of which amounts to not more than 104
Where the employee wishes to take Carer’s Leave over a number of broken periods the
following conditions apply:
The minimum statutory entitlement that may be taken in one period at the
discretion o the employee is 13 weeks.
An employer may refuse, on reasonable grounds given to an employee in writing,
to permit an employee to take carer’s leave for any period of less than 13 weeks.
There must be a gap of at least 6 weeks between periods of carer’s leave taken
in respect of the same relevant person.
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An employer and employee may agree arrangements for carer’s leave on terms
more favourable to the employee. The granting of such arrangements is at the
discretion of the HSE.