You are legally entitled to take a reasonable amount of time off to deal with certain emergencies involving certain dependants. This leave is called Time Off For Dependants. Time Off For Dependants can be taken, for example, if a dependant falls ill or is injured, if care arrangements break down, or to arrange or attend a dependant's funeral.
A dependant is your child (including adopted child), husband, wife or parent. It also includes someone who lives in your household, and someone who reasonably relies on you, such as an elderly relative. Any time taken off must be necessary and reasonable in the particular circumstances. Time Off For Dependants is not paid.
Right to flexible working arrangements
Anyone can ask their employer to work flexibly. If an employee is caring for someone (eg a child or adult) they have the legal right to ask for flexible working. This is also known as ‘making a statutory application’. However, this doesn’t mean that an employer has to agree to the request.
What does Flexible working mean? It can come in different forms in terms of home working or conditions in the work place such as:
- Part-Time Working. Even such as starting work later and finishing early in order to take care of children after school
- Flexi-Time. Employees may be required to work within essential periods but outside 'core times' they often get flexibility in how they work their hours
- Job-Sharing. Usually, two employees share the work normally done by one employee
- Working from home.
- Term-Time Working. An employee on a permanent contract takes paid or unpaid leave during school holidays
- Staggered Hours. Employees in the same workplace have different start, finish and break times – often as a way of covering longer opening hours
- Annual Hours. The annual hours are a set number of hours usually split into 'set shifts' and 'reserve shifts' which are worked as the demand dictates
- Compressed Working Hours. Employees work their total agreed hours over fewer working days – for example, a five-day working week is compressed into four days
- Shift-Working. Shift-work is widespread in industries which must run on a 24-hour cycle, such as newspaper production, utilities and hospital and emergency services.
Making a statutory application
The basic steps for making an application are:
- The employee writes to the employer requesting flexible working and what type of changes they want the employer to consider. Often an Employer will have form for you to complete.
- The employer should request a meeting within 28 days to discuss the application.
- The employer must make a decision within 14 days of the meeting and tell the employee about it.
If the employer agrees to flexible working they must give the employee a new contract. If they don’t agree the employee can appeal.
For more information contact us…
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