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Time off for dependants

Under the Employment Rights Act 1996, all employees (regardless of their length of service) have the right to take a ‘reasonable’ amount of unpaid time off work without notice to deal with particular unexpected emergencies affecting their dependants.

Time off must be needed for a dependant. Dependant is defined as including:

  • Spouse: Husband ,wife, civil partner
  • Child: This means a child of any age.
  • Parent: This includes step parents.
  • Someone who lives in the same household: this includes partners or elderly relatives living with the employee but does not include an employee, tenant, lodger or boarder.

There is no service requirement to qualify for time off.

The right is to reasonable unpaid time off during your working hours in order to take action, which is necessary in a number of different circumstances as detailed below:

  • To provide assistance on an occasion when a dependant falls ill, gives birth or is injured or assaulted. To make arrangements for the provision of care for a dependant who is ill or injured (illness or injury includes mental illness or injury).
  • In consequence of the death of a dependant (This right would cover, for example, making arrangements for, and attendance at funerals).
  • Because of the unexpected disruption or termination of arrangements for the care of a dependant. (This would cover the employee providing assistance for him or herself or making other arrangements).
  • To deal with an incident, which involves a child of the employee and which, occurs unexpectedly in a period during which an educational establishment which the child attends is responsible for him. This would cover:
    • When the child is distressed for some reason
    • Where the child has committed a serious misdemeanour which could lead to expulsion

Note: The Council has paid Compassionate Leave provisions, which may be granted on the death or serious illness of an immediate family member. These provisions are independent of and in addition to the Regulations concerning Time Off for Dependants.

You must contact your line manager or nominated officer as soon as possible, to inform why you are absent/require time off and how long you expect to be absent.

You will be required to apply for Time off for Dependants Leave using the web based self service system, ‘My View – Dashboard

If you are unable to access the web based self service system, you will be required to complete the Time off for Dependants Application Form.



Your manager should consider the following in deciding how much time off is reasonable:

  • What are the practical things to be done? How long would this normally take?
  • Are there any circumstances, which would justify more time for you? For example, does the dependant live at some distance and therefore is not practical for you to come back to work in between making arrangements?
  • Are there any service needs that would affect the amount of time allowed to you at a particular time?

The above three considerations should then be balanced in deciding what is reasonable.

Any abuse of the scheme will be dealt with under our disciplinary procedure. Examples of abuse include:

  • Taking leave for purposes other than for a dependant as detailed above.

If you consider that you have had a legitimate request for time off turned down you can use the Grievance Procedure to resolve the matter.

Page updated: 13/07/2020 11:31:36