Time Off Work

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					Time Off Work
        As an employer, there are rules you must follow that allow your
employees reasonable time off work for certain purposes. This factsheet gives
details. It does not try to describe every detail, and it is not a full statement of
the law. You can find more detailed information in the publications listed later in
this factsheet. These rights apply in England, Scotland and Wales. You can find
guidance on the similar rights which apply in Northern Ireland in a series of
Northern Ireland Small Firms Factsheets, which you can order by phoning Tel
02890 257 678.
Do these regulations apply to my business?
The regulations apply to all businesses, no matter how many workers they have.
When must I allow time off?
You must normally allow your employees time off to carry out public duties as

        a Justice of the Peace
     a member of:
    o         a local authority
    o         a police authority
    o         a statutory tribunal
    o         a prison visitors board or a prison visiting committee (in Scotland)
    o         a National Health Service (NHS) Trust
    o         a health authority, a special health authority or a primary care
       trust (in England and Wales), or a health board (in Scotland)
    o         the managing or governing body of an educational establishment
       maintained by either a local education authority or a further or higher
       education corporation (in England and Wales )
    o         a school council or board, the management board of a self-
       governing school, a college of further of education, or the governing
       body of a central institution or a designated institution (in Scotland)
    o         the General Teaching Council for England and Wales
    o         the Environment Agency or the Scottish Environment Protection
    o         the service authority for the National Criminal Intelligence Service
       or the National Crime Squad or
    o         the Scottish water and sewerage authorities and water industry
       consultative committees.
You must also give your employees time off for the following activities:

      to carry out industrial-relations duties or receive necessary training as a
    properly-appointed official of an independent, recognised trade union
      to take part in certain activities of an independent, recognised trade union
    of which they are a member
      to carry out duties or receive appropriate training as a safety
      to carry out duties or receive appropriate training as a trustee of an
    occupational pension scheme
      to look for another job or arrange training for future employment when
    they are being made redundant
      to go to antenatal care appointments (including relaxation and parentcraft
    classes) during pregnancy
      maternity leave (see the separate factsheet on maternity rights)
      parental leave (see 'Where can I get further information?' at the end of
    this factsheet)
      to deal with an emergency involving a dependant (a child, partner, parent
    or someone else who relies on the employee for care). This can cover cases
     of sickness, injury or assault, a death in the family, a partner giving birth,
     care arrangements breaking down or an incident at a child's school
       to carry out duties or receive appropriate training as (or to be) an
     employee representative for consultation over collective redundancies or
     business transfers
       to carry out duties as a member of a special negotiating body or a
     European Works Council, an information and consultation representaative, or
     a candidate in an election to be a member or representative.
Also, you must allow employees aged 16 or 17, who have few or no qualifications,
time off to study or train for approved qualifications which will help them achieve
a reasonable standard (for example, NVQ Level 2). Certain employees aged 18
have the right to complete study or training they have already started. The study
or training can be in the workplace, at college, with another employer or a
training provider, or elsewhere.
How much time off must I allow?
You have to allow only as much time off as is reasonable. What is reasonable will
depend on all the circumstances. There are no set rules about this.
You will need to consider

      the size and resources of your business
      the likely effect of the employees'absence
      the amount of time off needed for the stated purpose and
      the amount of time off already allowed.
In some cases it might be reasonable to refuse time off altogether (although you
cannot refuse time off to deal with an emergency).
In the case of time off for carrying out duties or taking part in activities of an
independent, recognised trade union, you can find helpful guidance in the 'Code
of Practice number 3: Time off for trade union duties and activities' issued by the
Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas).
In case of time off for antenatal care, you must allow the woman enough time off
to keep the appointment, This includes the travelling and waiting time as well as
the time taken up by the appointment.
If an employee needs time off to deal with an emergency involving a dependant,
they are entitled to take a reasonable amount of time to deal with the problem
and put any other necessary arrangements in place. What time is reasonable will
depend on the type of emergency.
For maternity leave, see the separate factsheet on maternity rights. For parental
leave, see 'Where can I get further information' at the end of this factsheet.
Must time off be with pay?
Yes, you must pay your employee unless the time off is for

      carrying out public duties
      taking part in activities of an independent, recognised trade union of
    which the employee is a member
      dealing with an emergency involving a dependant.
      parental leave or
      maternity leave (special arrangements apply - see the separate factsheet
    on maternity rights).
Is there anyone who is not covered by these rules?
Yes, the rules do not cover

      self-employed people, independent contractors and some trainees and
      certain other groups, including some working at sea and some public
    servants and members of the police service and armed forces.
What can an employee do if they think I have unreasonably refused to
allow them time off?
An employee who thinks they have been unreasonably refused time off to which
they are legally entitled may make a complaint against you to an employment
They must normally make a complaint within three months of the date when you
refused them the time off.
The tribunal may order you to pay the employee compensation if it finds in their
Where can I get further information?
You may find the following free publications, all available from Jobcentre Plus
(formerly Employment Service) Jobcentres, or direct from the DTI Publications
Orderline on Tel 0870 150 2500, are useful sources of information.

       'Time Off for Public Duties' (PL702)
       'Time Off for job-hunting or to arrange training' (PL703)
       'Maternity Rights - a guide for employers and employees' (PL958)
       'Time Off for Dependants - a guide for employers and employees' (URN
       'Parental Leave - a guide for employers and employees' (URN 99/1193)
Time Off for Study and Training
You can order the following DfES publications from the DfES Publications Order
line on 0845 602 2260.

       'Time Off for Study or Training: Employment Legislation' (Ref TfST/EL1)
       'Time Off for Study or Training: A Guide for Employers' (Ref TfST/EG1)
       'Time Off for Study or Training: Summary' (Ref TfST/EG2)
The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) provides
information and guidance on a wide range of employment and industrial relations
matters. Their national phone enquiry service is free, impartial and confidential,
and is listed under "Acas" in your local phone book.
You can get 'Employing People - a handbook for small firms' (price £4.95) and
free leaflets about Acas and their services from Acas Publications on Tel 0870 242
Acas can conciliate in actual or possible complaints to employment tribunals. This
is free, voluntary, and uses discussion to help the people involved in a dispute
reach their own agreement.

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