All employees have the right to take ‘reasonable time off’ to deal with an emergency involving a dependant. Whether the time off is paid or not is at the discretion of your employer.
To use this right to time off, you must inform your employer as soon as possible after the emergency has happened. This right can also give you some protection from victimisation and dismissal.
If you think you have been treated unfavourably because of using this right, seek further advice from your union or contact the ACAS Helpline. which provides free and confidential employment advice. You can also contact ACAS if you are unsure whether you are an employee, for instance if you are on a short-term contract or employed through an agency.
WHO IS A DEPENDANT?
A dependant includes your husband, wife or partner, child or parent, or someone living with you as part of your family. Others who rely on you for help in an emergency may also qualify.
WHAT COUNTS AS AN EMERGENCY?
The situations where leave might be taken are:
– a disruption or breakdown in care arrangements
– when a dependant falls ill, has been assaulted or in an accident (including when the person is hurt or upset rather than physically injured)
– to make longer term arrangements for a dependant who is ill or injured (but not to provide long term care yourself)
– to deal with an incident involving a child during school hours
– to deal with the death of a dependant.