YOUR VIEW; Today Joe Michna, Manager, Citizens Advice Hartlepool, talks about time off work for dependants.
Byline: Joe Michna
QIS there a legal right to take time off work to deal with unexpected problems involving dependants? A. The Parental Leave Directive introduced the right to dependants leave and this is now contained within the Employment Rights Act 1996. Q. Who is entitled to take time off for dependants? A. The right is available to all employees, male and female, irrespective of their working hours, whether full-time or part-time or whether on a permanent or temporary contract. There is no qualifying period of employment so the right to time off is available from day one of starting a job. Q. What are examples of circumstances when time off for dependants may be taken? A. Examples are: | | to provide assistance to make arrangements for the provision of care when a dependent falls ill, gives birth or is injured | | when arrangements for caring for a dependant unexpectedly break down | | to deal with an incident that involves a child of the employee that occurs unexpectedly while the child is at school | | where a dependent has died or been assaulted Q. For the purposes of these rights, who is classified as a dependent? A. A dependant is: | | a child, spouse or parent | | someone who lives in the same household (other than a lodger, tenant or boarder) | | anyone who reasonably relies on the employee, for example, an elderly neighbour. Q. Is time off for dependants paid? A. There is no statutory right to be paid for time off for dependants although some employees may have a contractual right to be paid. Some employers will use their discretion to pay their employees for time off. Q. How much time off is an employee able to take when exercising this right? A. The law does not stipulate a time. The time taken off should be reasonable and this could be a day or two, or even longer depending on the circumstances. Q. What if an employee was dismissed or victimised for taking time off work for dependants? A. S/he can complain to an Employment Tribunal. | | For further advice, contact your local Citizens Advice office. There are offices in Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland & Stockton on Tees.