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Emergency/dependants leave

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Example policy: Emergency/dependants leave

This is an example of an employment policy designed for a small not-for-profit employer adhering to statutory minimum requirements and does not constitute legal advice. As with all policies it should be consistent with your terms and conditions of employment as well as your culture and aspirations. There is no one size fits all.

Download a version of this emergency/dependants leave example policy (Word, 71KB)

Purpose and scope

All employees with dependants can take reasonable unpaid time off to deal with unforeseen emergencies. This is unlikely to amount to more than a day or two a year. We recognise that there may be additional pressures on families during the pandemic.

This policy tells you about your rights if you need to miss work because there is an emergency with a dependant. It also lets you know what you need to tell us.

Emergency leave provides carers with time off to make alternative arrangements for the care of dependants. Emergency leave is not intended to allow carers to look after dependants on an ongoing basis. Please talk to your manager if you need to discuss arrangements that are not covered by this policy.

Taking emergency leave

Dependants include parents, husband, wife, partner, civil partner, and children. It may include someone living as part of the family where you are the main carer. It may also be someone who depends on you for care (for example an elderly neighbour) or a person who relies on you to arrange care where this has been disrupted.

Emergency leave covers an unplanned absence, so you can go to a dependant where there is an urgent or serious situation. It is impossible to provide a complete list of circumstances but here are the most common reasons:

  • to assist a dependant who has fallen ill, gives birth, is injured or assaulted
  • to make arrangements for the provision of care for a dependant who is ill or injured
  • as a result of the death of a dependant
  • because of the unexpected disruption or termination of arrangements for the care of a dependant
  • to deal with an incident which involves a child of the employee and which occurs unexpectedly when the child is at school

Contact your manager as soon as possible to explain what has happened and when you might be back at work. If your manager is unavailable you must contact another senior manager instead.

If you need to stay and care for a dependant on an ongoing basis you can agree with your manager to take annual leave. If you have insufficient annual leave you may need to take unpaid leave. You may be able to take parental leave where the care is for your child.

Data protection

If you make a request to your manager for emergency/dependants leave, your manager will collect and retain information in line with the data protection policy. See our guidance on data protection and cybersecurity.

Download a version of this emergency/dependants leave example policy (Word, 71KB)

Page last edited May 23, 2022

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