Posted on 8th July 2014 by Jenny Hyde in Case Confidential
Croner’s team of HR advice line experts have shared a recent case with us.
A nursery employee, who was a mother of two, called in to ask for a day off to look after one of her children who was ill and couldn’t attend school or nursery. This in itself would not be a problem; however this had happened on five other occasions in the last six months. The nursery manager was concerned that it was beginning to have an impact on the business and wanted to know what action could be taken.
Employees have a statutory right to a reasonable amount of time off to deal with certain unexpected or sudden emergencies relating to a dependent; and to make necessary longer-term arrangements (dependency leave). It could be said that the employee in question was exercising her statutory right. However in such circumstances what is ‘reasonable’ is not defined in the legislation, and therefore depends entirely on the individual circumstances of each case. In this instance the nursery manager conducted a return to work interview on each occasion, and found that it was a genuine emergency each time.
The Croner employment consultant advising in this case offered the following guidance:
A meeting took place between the employee and manager, in which it transpired that the employee was not aware that the right to dependency leave extended to fathers. The employee was also fortunate that her mother lived locally and did not work; so the request by the employer to see a reduction in the amount of dependency leave was reasonable and would likely reduce in the future.
The key thing for managers to note from this case is that you should take every situation on a case by case basis.
Don’t forget dot 2 dot members have access to Croner’s team of employment law experts through their Helpline, you can call them on 0844 561 8111. For further information, please call one of the dot2dot team on 01204 570390