Time Off for Dependants

Please note that the University's Special Leave Policy replaces this content from 01/09/17.

Members of staff are entitled to a short amount of unpaid time off to make arrangements to deal with specific circumstances involving a dependant.

A dependant is defined as the member of staff’s spouse, child or parent, or a person living with the member of staff in the same household (but not as an employee, tenant, lodger or boarder).

In some circumstances, a dependant could be someone else who relies on the member of staff for assistance.  This could be an individual for whom the member of staff has primary caring responsibility, such as an elderly relative not living in the member of staff’s household, or someone who is involved in a serious emergency where the member of staff is the only person who can help.

Staff will be entitled to time off to deal with the following situations:

  • a dependant falls ill, is injured or assaulted, or gives birth
  • childcare or other care arrangements break down, for example, if a childminder or nurse does not turn up
  • the consequences of the death of a dependant, for example, to deal with funeral arrangements and to attend a funeral
  • a child is involved in a serious incident at school or during school hours, for example, if the child has been involved in a fight or is distressed

The wider definition of dependant, ie someone who relies on the member of staff for assistance, applies in the first two cases relating to illness, injury or assault or the breakdown of care arrangements.

The amount of time off should be reasonable when considering the particular circumstances of the case and should be sufficient to deal with the immediate problem and to arrange alternative long-term care if necessary.  There is no set limit on the amount of time which employees can take off, but in most cases, whatever the problem, one or two days will be the most that is needed.

As soon as is reasonably practicable, the member of staff should notify their Head of Department of the reason for absence and, unless already back at work, its likely duration.  The Head of Department will confirm in writing the dates of unpaid absence to the member of staff with a copy to both the Payroll and Pensions sections of the Division of Finance and Business Development in order for the appropriate action to be taken.

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