Leave can be a tricky subject to define for both staff and employers, especially when dealing with an absence without notice.
Emergency leave can root from various reasons. So, it’s important to understand the reasons for employees unexpected time off.
Employers need to follow emergency leave rules, as it could be costly for their business if they’re neglected. In the worst case, an employer my face unfair dismissal claims if a member of staff has been treated unfairly.
In this guide, we’ll explain what emergency leave is considered as, the reasons for it, and the rights that protect employees.
What is Considered Emergency Leave?
Emergency leave is when an employee needs to take time off suddenly and unexpectedly. For emergency leave, the reasons are more serious than compassionate leave.
For example, this could be when an employee’s child falls ill or there has been a death in the family.
What are the Reasons for Emergency Leave?
There are many reasons why an employee might need personal emergency leave. Emergency annual leave reasons include:
- Make funeral arrangements due to death in the family.
- Arrange care for a sick family member.
- Provide care for a dependant family member.
- Be with a partner who’s giving birth.
- Register the birth of a child.
- Deal with a household problem, like a plumbing issue.
On emergency leave , illnesses can also include physical and mental health conditions. And they don’t always have to be life threatening.
Emergency leave could involve an employee taking time off for to care for a dependant person (with mental or physical health conditions).
How Does Emergency Leave Work?
Employees are allowed a certain amount of time to deal with emergencies for their
dependants. This can be checked in your employees’ contract or employer handbook.
A dependant can be one of the following:
- A partner.
- A spouse.
- A child.
- A grandparent.
- Someone who depends on an employee for care.
As an employer, talk to the individual to see if it’s affecting their work.
If an employee needs to take care of their child or family member unexpectedly, they can take a reasonable amount of time for emergency leave.
This type of leave can be paid or unpaid, but you should adhere to your employee’s contract first.
How Long is Emergency Leave?
As there’s no legal timeframe you need to give, emergency annual leave should be reasonable.
In some situations, a few hours might be enough, but in others a few days might be needed.
This will be dependent on you as the employer, so make sure you understand your employees reasoning first.
Is Emergency Leave Paid?
Employers may provide staff with emergency leave pay, but it is not required by law.
Your HR department should also make it clear whether employees can receive pay for this type of leave. And employees should check their contract or company handbook to see if they get unpaid emergency leave.
How Can You Apply for Emergency Leave?
If an employee is unable to work because of an emergency, they must contact you as soon as possible.
To stay on the right side of the law, your employee should provide an emergency leave form for their absence.
They should explain how much time they think they need. If an employee has an exceptional situation, they may be delayed in telling you.
Get Expert Advice on Emergency Leave with BrightHR
Whether an employee needs family emergency leave or needs to care for a dependent, these situations can be incredibly hard to manage.
As an employer, you need to let your employees explain why they need time off and make sure you treat them fairly for being absent.
If employees are mistreated or even dismissed over taking emergency leave, this could lead to constructive dismissal claims.
BrightHR are here to alleviate any stress you may have about emergency leave. If you need any assistance on how to create an emergency leave form, don’t hesitate to call us.
Book in a free demo today to see how easy it is to HR with BrightHR. Give us a call on 08007832806
Have a question?
Ask away, we’ve got lightning fast answers for UK business owners and employers powered by qualified experts.