We have previously spoken about annual leave and how this can be managed in the workplace to make it fair for everyone; but now we would like to talk about additional time off such as jury service leave, compassionate leave and dependants leave. To deal with this kind of time off in your business you will need to have an absence policy in place that clearly lays out how additional leave is arranged within your business.
What sort of different types of leave are there?
Compassionate leave is time off that supports employees when a close family member has a serious, life threatening illness or has died. There is no legal entitlement or legal length of time that employees can have off for compassionate leave and is solely at the discretion of the business. The length of compassionate leave and any pay offered needs to be clearly stated in your time off policy to allow a consistent and fair approach. It is best practice to define a close member e.g. in the event of the death of a partner, parent, child, grandparent, sibling or stepchild/parent, employees will be entitled to take.
When your employee needs to deal with an unplanned emergency involving a dependent they have a statutory right to unpaid time off. An unplanned emergency could include anything such as their child falling ill at school, a partner being in a serious car accident or a parent falling over at home whom they care for. A reasonable amount of time off to care for dependants must be provided to all employees, regardless of service but again you must include your terms for dependants leave in your time off policy.
When an employee is called up for jury service the employer can request that this jury service is postponed if they don’t want to allow the employee to attend or are unable to allow the employee time off on the chosen dates; however jury service will still need to be completed by that employee at a later date. There is no legal obligation for the employer to pay their employee while they are on jury service; however the employee is entitled to claim loss of earning allowance through the court. The court will provide this information to the employee prior to or on the first day their jury service commences.
There are also other types of leave that you may wish to consider and add into your absence policy including:
- Time off for domestic emergencies such as a new boiler installation or a burst pipe in the home
- Time off for court appearances and if the employee will be paid for or not
- Time off for public services, for example if they work as a school governor and need time off for meetings
- Time off for territorial army leave
- Severe weather policy – what happens in the event of your employees not being able to get to work due to severe weather
- Dental and medical appointment – how would your business like to manage this time off
- Would you pay an employee time off for fertility appointments or elective surgery
If you would like more advice on how to deal with absences within your business or like some support on putting a policy together why not give aspire cambridge a call on 01223 855441?