Under the provisions of the Employment Relations Act 1999, employees who want to take time off for dependants are entitled to take a reasonable amount of unpaid time off during normal working hours, provided they tell their departmental administrator (or equivalent) of the reasons for the absence as soon as reasonably practicable and specify for how long they expect to be absent (this may be done retrospectively if necessary).
Leave can be taken:
- 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
- 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.
The term "dependant" is defined, in relation to an employee as:
- a spouse or civil partner
- a child
- a parent
- a person who lives in the same household as the employee, other than by reason of being their employee, tenant, lodger or boarder
For the purposes of (1) or (2) above, dependant also includes any person who reasonably relies on the employee:
- for assistance on an occasion when the person falls ill or is injured or assaulted, or
- to make arrangements for the provision of care in the event of illness or injury.
For the purposes of (4), dependant also includes any person who reasonably relies on the employee to make arrangements for the provision of care.
Employees may complain to an Employment Tribunal if they are denied leave or dismissed or subjected to a detriment for taking leave. If there are any queries on entitlement to this type of leave, therefore, departments are asked to contact their HR Business Partner for further information.
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