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Dependants leave policy

Policy purpose and scope

All employees have the right to take a reasonable amount of time off without pay during working hours, in order to deal with certain unexpected or sudden emergencies involving a dependant.

Dependants leave is in addition to other types of family friendly leave such as parental or paternity leave. It does not apply where you know about the situation beforehand (for example, if you wish to accompany a dependant to a pre-scheduled hospital appointment).

The policy outlines entitlements and the procedure for taking dependants leave. This policy applies to all employees and is non-contractual.

1. Definition of a dependant

A dependant could be a spouse, partner, child, grandchild, parent, or someone who depends on you for care.

It does not include tenants or boarders living in your home/property, or someone who lives in the household as an employee.

In cases of illness, injury or where care arrangements break down, a dependant may also be someone who reasonably relies on you for assistance. This may be where you are the primary carer or are the only person who can help in an emergency.

2. Entitlement

You can take time off:

  • if a dependant falls ill or has been injured or assaulted;
  • to make longer term care arrangements for a dependant who is ill or injured;
  • to deal with a death of a dependant;
  • to deal with an unexpected disruption, termination or breakdown of care arrangements for a dependant;
  • to deal with an unexpected incident involving your child during school hours; and/or
  • to assist when a dependant gives birth

There is no set limit on what is considered to be a reasonable amount of time off, however, government guidance suggests that in most cases one or two days will be sufficient to deal with the problem. This right is intended to cover genuine emergencies only, immediate problems and to give you time to arrange alternative longer-term care if necessary.

No-one who takes time off in accordance with this policy will be subjected to any detriment.

The illness or injury need not be serious or life-threatening, and includes both mental and physical illness and may be an existing condition that has worsened.
In the case of a bereavement of a dependant, you can take time off to make funeral arrangements, as well as to attend a funeral. See the Special Leave Policy for compassionate leave.

You can take leave to assist where a dependant goes into labour unexpectedly and they rely on you to take them to hospital. It does not apply after the birth to care for the child unless it is an emergency. If you are the child’s parent you may be entitled to paternity or parental leave.

If you need time off for emergencies that are not covered by this policy, you must agree it with your manager.

3. Procedure

As soon as reasonably practicable you must tell your manager the reason for your absence and (where you have not already returned to work) for how long you will be absent. Managers should notify HR immediately.

If you fail to notify us as set out above, you may be subject to disciplinary proceedings under our Disciplinary Policy for taking unauthorised time off.

We may in some cases ask you to provide evidence for your reasons for taking the time off, either in advance or on your return to work. Suspected abuse of this policy will be dealt with as a disciplinary issue under our Disciplinary Policy.

On your return to work you must complete a time off for dependants authorisation form and send it to HR so that your salary may be adjusted. You must enter your dependants leave onto the flexitime system for HR to approve.

If you have any queries about time off for dependants you should contact HR.