1.1. This policy provides the right to employees to take a reasonable amount of unpaid time off work to deal with an emergency or unexpected situation and to make any necessary longer term arrangements.


2.1. Employees have the right to time off regardless of length of service, employment status and contracted hours.

The right to time off must involve "a dependant" of the employee. The definition of "a dependant" is:

  • spouse
  • child
  • parent
  • some members of the employee's household e.g. partner
  • any person who reasonably relies on the employee for assistance.


3.1. The right to time off exists in the following sudden or unexpected circumstances:

  • To provide assistance when a dependant falls ill, gives birth, is injured or assaulted
  • To make long-term care arrangements for a dependant who is ill or injured
  • In consequence of the death of a dependant
  • To deal with an unexpected disruption or termination of arrangements for the care of a dependant
  • To deal with an incident involving a child which occurs unexpectedly during the time, for example, an educational establishment has responsibility for the child

The right does not cover routine medical/hospital appointments etc.

3.2. Where possible, the expectation is that the employee will arrange such appointments outside of their normal working hours. Where this is not possible, the employee should request time off for their appointment. 

3.3. The right to time off is in addition to any entitlement under the schools policy on bereavement leave.

Allocation of leave

4.1. The amount of time off granted will vary accordingly to the circumstances of each situation.

4.2. The right will be limited to the amount of time that is reasonable in the circumstances.

4.3. It is expected that one or two days will be sufficient to deal with most sudden or unexpected emergencies.

4.4. Time off for dependents will be unpaid unless it is possible for the employee to work additional hours to cover the time taken. The ability to work additional hours will be considered on a case by case basis and will be considered fairly and consistently reflecting the individual nature of the role undertaken and the individual circumstances of the employee.

Application for leave

5.1. The employee must advise their Line Manager as soon as is reasonably practicable of the reason for the time off (including dependant concerned), and the anticipated duration of the period of time off. If it is not possible for the the Line Manger to be updated then every effort should be made to ensure that the school is aware of the absence.

5.2. In exceptional circumstances the employee may not be in a position to satisfy the condition at Point 5.1 until they have returned to work.

Approval of time off

6.1. All applications for time off will be approved by the Line Manager including retrospective applications where the employee has been unable to comply with application requirements until their return to work.

6.2. The Line Manager may refuse some or all of time off where, in consultation with the employee, it can be clearly demonstrated that:

  • the circumstance relating to time off does not involve a "dependant" of the employee
  • the circumstance does not constitute an entitlement to time off
  • the situation is neither sudden or unexpected
  • the amount of time off to deal with the emergency is not reasonable

6.3. Where time off has been refused (including retrospective applications) the employee will be required to take the time off as unpaid leave or other paid leave entitlement.

Pension scheme

7.1. Periods of unpaid leave can have an effect on the employee's final pension and lump sum entitlements. Employees granted unpaid carers leave must contact the HR/Pay Support Services who will advise of the position in relation to the Pension Scheme.

Medical appointments

It is expected that all routine medical/dental/opticians appointments will be made outside of normal working hours. Where this is not possible this should be discussed with the Headteacher. There is no automatic right for paid time off for routine medical/dental/opticians appointments, any agreement for paid time off to attend such appointments will be at the discretion of the Headteacher.

Reasonable paid time off will be available for hospital appointments, for specific treatment or counselling and for regular ongoing medical appointments or treatment. What is reasonable should be discussed with the Headteacher and it may be that not all the time off will be paid.

Roles and responsibilities

The Headteacher/Chair of Governors have responsibility for providing support to employees to enable them to attend work regularly whilst still being able to care for their dependents.

Employees also have a responsibility within this procedure, including the expectation that they will try to make alternative arrangements where possible before requesting time off.

Other paid or unpaid leave

8.1. Other paid/unpaid leave requests will need to be directed to the Headteacher and will be considered in line with current policies.

Monitoring and review

9.1. Time off taken for dependants and other leave will be recorded through normal school procedures.

9.2. Application of the policy will be monitored by the school to assess the provision of equality of opportunity.

Breaches of policy

10.1. Any abuse of this policy will be dealt with under the school's Disciplinary Procedures.


11.1. Employees can raise a matter through the school's Grievance Procedure if they believe that they have:

  • been unreasonably refused time off
  • been subjected to detriment for seeking or taking time off
  • been dismissed for seeking or taking time off 

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