Emergencies involving dependants

You are entitled to take a reasonable amount of (emergency) unpaid time off during working hours to deal with an emergency involving a dependant. It is intended to cover unforeseen matters. It is not intended to deal with situations where you know in advance that you are going to need time off (though other arrangements might help you in such situations, for example, taking time from your annual leave entitlement).

In order to exercise your right to take unpaid time off to care for a dependant you must tell the Finance Manager as soon as reasonably practicable (except in circumstances where this is impossible until you return to work) of the reason for your absence and the period for which you expect to be absent.

Under this procedure there is no set limit to the amount of time off which can be taken. However, in most cases the amount of leave will be one or two days at the most. This leave is intended to enable you to cope with a crisis – that is to deal with the immediate care of a child, visiting the doctor if necessary, and to make longer term care arrangements. It is not intended to enable you, for example, to take two weeks leave to look after a sick child.

If the reason you need leave relates to your child, you may be entitled to take parental leave.

Who is a dependant?

Someone is a dependant if they are:

  • your husband, wife or civil partner
  • your child (that is any child for whom you have parental responsibilities)
  • someone who lives with you as part of your family (though not if they are an employee, tenant, lodger or boarder)
  • where a person reasonably relies on you for assistance then they count as a dependant in relation to purpose 1 below
  • if a person reasonably relies on you to make arrangements for the provision of care then they count as a dependant for purposes 2 and 4 below.

For what purposes can you take time off?

You are entitled to take a reasonable amount of unpaid time off for the following purposes:

  1. to provide assistance on an occasion when a dependant falls ill, gives birth, or is injured or assaulted
  2. to make arrangements for the provision of care for a dependant who is ill or injured
  3. in consequence of the death of a dependant
  4. because of the unexpected disruption or termination of arrangements for the care of a dependant
  5. to deal with an incident which involves your child and which occurs unexpectedly in a period during which an educational establishment, which your child attends, is responsible for him or her.