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Time off for dependants

Children 2 newIf you are an employee you are entitled to take time off work to deal with sudden and unexpected emergencies affecting close family members and dependants. Many people use this right if their child is sick and so cannot go to nursery or school, or in more serious circumstances.

The period of leave allowed is just long enough to deal with the initial emergency and organise longer term arrangements.

A person counts as your dependant if they are your husband, wife, child, parent, someone living in your household (but not tenants, boarders or employees) or someone else who reasonably depends upon you for assistance in the circumstances.

(If you are unsure whether you are an employee see Who is an employee?)

Duration of time off

You are entitled to take off a reasonable amount of time to deal with the immediate problem by taking necessary action

  • To help when a dependant falls ill, gives birth or is injured or assaulted.
  • To make care arrangements for a dependant who is ill or injured.
  • As the result of the death of a dependant.
  • As the result of unexpected disruption to care arrangements for a dependant.
  • To deal with an unexpected incident concerning your child at school.

For example, if a child is suddenly taken ill, the right to time off may cover the length of time it takes to make a visit to the doctor and make longer term care arrangements for the rest of the illness.

There is no limit on the number of times you can use this right to take time off to deal with genuine emergencies.

Time off for dependants

You must tell your employer as soon as you can why you are absent from work and how long you expect to be off work.
There are a number of employees who do not qualify for this right - such as those employees that work in the police service, armed forces or in share fishing.

It is illegal for your boss to treat you unfairly or sack you as a result of taking or seeking to take time off for dependants.

Pay during time off for dependants

You are not entitled to be paid for this time off, unless you have arranged otherwise with your employer.

Think you've got it? Why not take our Time off for dependants quiz...

May 2007

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