Time Off For Dependants
Employers should permit employees to take a reasonable amount of time off during their working hours in order to care for dependants. The right is provided for under section 57A of the Employment Rights Act 1996, with section 57B giving employees the right to complain to an employment tribunal where the employer has unreasonably refused to permit time off.
The rights are for employees to take action which is necessary:
- to provide assistance on an occasion when a dependant falls ill, gives birth or is injured or assaulted,
- to make arrangements for the provision of care for a dependant who is ill or injured,
- in consequence of the death of a dependant,
- because of the unexpected disruption or termination of arrangements for the care of a dependant, or
- to deal with an incident which involves a child of the employee and which occurs unexpectedly in a period during which an educational establishment which the child attends is responsible for him or her.
In summary, an employee should not unreasonably be denied time off from work in order to take action which is necessary to deal with an emergency, or other unforeseen event.
Dependants – Definition
A dependant is defined as:
- a spouse or civil partner,
- a child,
- a parent,
- a person who lives in the same household as the employee, other than an employee, tenant, lodger or boarder,
- any person who reasonably relies on the employee.
Employees are required to notify the employer of the reason for their absence as soon as reasonably practicable giving details (unless they cannot notify the employer until they have returned to work) how long they expect to be absent.
Employers are under no legal obligation to pay staff that take time off for dependants, and this should be paid at the discretion of the employer, subject only to the employment contract.
Employers requiring advice on when to permit time off should contact Employment Law Clinic for a consultation: