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Time off for dependants

Key points

  • Time off for dependants is unpaid unless an employer is willing to give paid time off under the terms and conditions of employment.
  • The right is to a reasonable amount of time off - normally a day or two but this will depend on individual circumstances.
  • The right to time off is to deal with emergencies involving a dependant.
  • A dependant is someone who depends on an employee for care.

All employees have the right to time off during working hours for dependants, this time off is intended to deal with unforeseen matters and emergencies. There is no legal right to be paid; however some employers may offer a contractual right to pay under the terms and conditions of employment.

A dependant could be a spouse, partner, child parent, or someone who depends on an employee for care, for example an elderly neighbour.

The leave can be taken for example:

  • to deal with a breakdown in childcare
  • to put longer term care in place for children or elderly relatives
  • if a dependant fall ill or is taken into hospital
  • to arrange or attend a funeral.

The right is to a reasonable amount of time off, although it is not stated how much is reasonable. In most cases a day or two will be sufficient to deal with the immediate crisis, but it will depend on the individual circumstances. The employee must tell the employer as soon as possible the reason for the absence and how long they expect to be absent.

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