Nursery and early years sector: COVID-19 restrictions and consumer law
How does consumer law apply to arrangements with parents during the current pandemic?Read more
Educational establishments differ in their approach when it comes to taking time off work for family reasons; some are more generous than others.
Maintained schools tend to adopt their local authority’s policies, whereas non-maintained schools, independent schools colleges and universities have more freedom to implement their own rules.
However, all of these are subject to the minimum statutory requirements that govern this area.
All employees are entitled to take a reasonable amount of unpaid time off to provide assistance in the following circumstances:
A dependant is defined as a spouse, civil partner, child or parent (but not grandparent) of the employee, or a person who lives in the same household as the employee (excluding tenants, lodgers, borders and employees).
Also, for the purposes of time off:
There is no specified limit to the amount of time an employee is entitled to take off.
However, it may be that, in the vast majority of cases, no more than a few hours or, at most, one or possibly two days would be regarded as reasonable to deal with the particular problem which has arisen.
When considering what is a reasonable amount of time off you should take into account the nature of the incident and the employee’s individual circumstances not the disruption or inconvenience caused to the organisation.
Employees with more than one year’s service are entitled to request unpaid leave for the purpose of caring for a child for which they have (or expect to have) responsibility.
In practice, those responsible for a child will normally include:
At present, step-parents and foster parents are not normally covered, unless they already have or expect to have parental responsibility by adopting the child.
Each employee is entitled to take 18 weeks’ parental leave for each child. The right is a personal one; it cannot be transferred from one parent to another.
Furthermore, the entitlement is to take 18 weeks’ leave in total in relation to each child and not 18 weeks with each separate employer.
So an employee who has already taken nine weeks’ parental leave and then goes to work for a new employer would only have nine weeks’ leave remaining to take with that employer.
Employers can implement their own scheme for parental leave but where they do not a default scheme will apply. It is also possible for employers to refuse to permit the leave in limited circumstances.
An employee has the right to make a request to work flexibly as long as they meet the following requirements:
There is no longer any requirement for the employee to be making the request in connection with childcare responsibilities.
Eligible employees are able to request a change to their terms and conditions of employment that involve one or more of the following:
The right is a right to request flexible working arrangements, not a right to insist upon them. It is possible for an employer to refuse an employee’s request based on one of the following grounds:
You should also ensure that the proper procedure for considering a request is followed each time.
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