Writing for Business Advice, Kate Palmer, associate director at Peninsula HR, helps employers understand when an employee can take unpaid leave and explains what the law says on such matters. There are in fact a variety of instances where individuals can take unpaid leave, some of which are transcribed in law, whilst others are down to the employer’s discretion. By browsing our website, you consent to our use of cookies and other tracking technologies. In line with the focus for this year’s Migraine Awareness Week, it’s important for businesses to cultivate a culture of mindfulness around migraines in workplaces. Employers may also consider fostering a culture of self-accountability, and that employees should know that they are relied upon to be responsive and responsible in ensuring that they carry out their work duties and responsibilities as they would do in their normal workplace. An employer can direct an employee to take statutory annual leave by giving at least 14 days’ notice in writing of the time the employer has determined for the grant of a period of annual leave, unless a shorter period has been mutually agreed. Should employees expect to be able to carry annual leave over into the following year? In the absence of any contractual provision, how you deal with unpaid leave and whether you allow it is at your discretion, though you should look towards any past instances of a request for unpaid leave in your organisation for guidance in this current situation. Employees who need time off to care for a dependent in an emergency are allowed a reasonable amount of time for this purpose. Try searching the help. Yes, as stated above, there are situations in which the employer has the right absolutely to refuse to allow the employee to take unpaid leave. A request for training or study under section 63D of the Employment Rights Act 1996. If you provide the employee with work to do at home, then they will no longer be considered to be on medical suspension. She's an expert negotiator - one notable case was with the NHS's trade unions over terms and conditions in the Agenda for Change pay system. You may decide to allow one of each per year, for example. If you decide to treat the unpaid leave as described in option 1, go to Maintenance > Maintain Employees, select the applicable employee then click the Leave Details tab and adjust the Annual Leave Anniversary Date at the top left of the window. Although there is no mandatory requirement to put in place a homeworking policy, I highly recommend having a written policy in place which should cover the following key areas:-. This can be a real incentive to retain good people. appointments with the doctor or dentist (unless the employee is pregnant in which case you have to allow paid time off for ante natal appointments). If an employee is self-isolating at home because they have the virus, then you should pay them in accordance with the sick pay policy of your organisation. more», ITV star pursued by HMRC for unpaid tax bill worth £2m, HMRC slammed for concealing Brexit reality from 100,000 small businesses, Companies House reveals 8 most bizarre excuses for filing accounts late, Named and shamed: 35 worst offending late payers and the crippling impact on small businesses. The most common option of those described above is option 2. The employer and employee are free to agree on when and how much annual leave can be taken. Unpaid leave is where an employee takes time off from their job without pay. This is transcribed in the Employment Rights Act 1996 and entitles eligible employees to a “reasonable” amount of time off to care for a dependant, which will typically be a child, relative or other individual who an employee provides care to. So when it comes to dealing with the Covid-19 outbreak, companies cannot force workers to use their entitled annual leave for quarantine. Fleet House, 59-61 Clerkenwell Road, EC1M 5LA, you do have the right to refuse a holiday request, Reducing stress as a small business owner by tackling thought spirals – infographic, Banking giant suggests 5% working from home tax for businesses, Five ways to add value to retain your customers, Call for digital adoption fund to boost small business productivity, When and where to apply for the new 80% self-employed grant. There are, broadly, three categories of unpaid leave: An employee must be allowed to take unpaid leave in the following circumstances: Unpaid leave that you have to consider by law: Unpaid leave that is entirely discretionary: The number of days of unpaid leave to which an employee is entitled depends on whether or not you are obliged to give the time off in the first place. If the employment contract does not distinguish between statutory and contractual annual leave, arguably the same rules would apply to contractual annual leave. We support small businesses with useful guides and advice – especially with the recent outbreak of coronavirus. In some situations, as in the case of time off to care for a dependent in an emergency, you must grant the time off, although you can decide whether it is paid or unpaid. It is called ‘laying off’ and occurs where the employer does not have enough work for the employee to do, so asks them to stay at home. In some situations, as in the case of time off to care for a dependent in an emergency, you must grant the time off, although you can decide whether it is paid or unpaid.

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