Guide index - HR employment law and your business

Time off work

Employers must give employees time off work, other than annual leave, in certain circumstances. Whether it is paid or unpaid depends on the circumstances.

These include ante-natal appointments, trade union duties, accompanying another worker to a disciplinary or grievance hearing, and time off for “public duties”.

Pregnant women are entitled to paid time off for ante-natal care. The father of the unborn baby and partners of pregnant women have the right to take unpaid time off work to accompany expectant mothers to up to two ante-natal appointments.

Adopters have a right to a certain amount of time off work for adoption appointments before a child is placed with them for adoption.

Time off for emergencies involving dependants

All employees have the right to take a reasonable period of time off work to deal with an emergency involving a dependant, and not to be dismissed or victimised for doing so. The right enables employees to deal with an unexpected or sudden problem and make any necessary longer-term arrangements.