At some point in our careers, most of us will need to take some time off work to deal with both planned or unplanned situations. Your employer doesn't have to legal grant your paid leave, but in most cases must allow unpaid leave. However, it is up to the discretion of your manager to decide with you what is appropriate in the circumstances. There is detailed guidance available to help them consider what is appropriate.
An emergency is an unplanned event which is urgent or serious and couldn't be reasonable foreseen. It may be something that is happening to you personally, or is affecting your family or dependants. There are many examples of emergencies such as your boiler breaking and requiring urgent attention during the winter, the closure of a school or nursery, or an accident.
In emergency situations, you are legally entitled to a reasonable amount of unpaid time off to allow you to make alternative arrangements. Your manager will consider each individuals circumstances when deciding whether to offer paid leave, for longer periods they may ask you to take holiday leave or to work time back too. But remember, the point of emergency leave is to help you in that moment of emergency, and to enable you to make other arrangements. For example, if your car breaks down, you may be granted paid leave to help you get your car to a garage, and then make your way to work once that immediate situation has been handled.
You are likely to be granted up to one or two days paid leave for the circumstances, and longer periods may be agreed using holiday, paid or unpaid leave.
Compassionate & bereavements:
Compassionate leave if there to support you in the unfortunate situations where you, or those close to you are seriously ill, or there has been a death in your family.
You are legally entitled to reasonable amounts of unpaid time off in serious situations such as bereavements. However your manager will consider the circumstances with you and agree a period of paid leave. This may be up to a week initially, but more can be granted. It's important you keep in touch with your manager, especially in the cases of a death in your close family or those who were dependant upon you as the time off you need may be greater.
If situations where you need longer than a month, you may be directed to talk to your GP to agree a period of absence from your employer to help you cope with the situation and to talk through appropriate support to help you come to terms with what's happening.
In 2020, the law changed to granted parents a legal right to paid leave following the loss of a child under the age of 18, or in cases of stillbirth after the 24th week of pregnancy. This applies to biological and adoptive parents, and anyone who has parental responsibility for the child.
There is no legal entitlement for unpaid or paid leave for personal appointments such as dentist or GPs appointment. You are expected to arrange these in your own time, where possible. However your manager may agree for paid leave, or a combination of paid, unpaid and holiday leave depending upon the circumstances.
If you've got a series of linked medical appointments such as counselling, managing or diagnosing a medical condition, or hospital appointments, we'd usually expect your manager to agree to these to be paid leave. You may still be asked to organise these on any non-working days, or outside of your working hours where it is reasonable and possible to. Where this isn't possible, you may want to discuss organising your day around the appointment - for example, starting a work shift later or changing non-working days to fix around the appointment.
If you don't feel you're being treated fairly, or your circumstances are being considered, get in touch with your local Accord officer and they will help you to establish the best course of action.