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NHS employment and time off for dependants

(16 Posts)
Jesabel Sun 07-Feb-16 19:58:22

Does anyone know what the situation is with a legal right to take time off for sick children? Particularly in a situation like getting a call that they are hurt/ill and you have to leave work and go straight away?

I am asking as my DP believes he has no right to take time off for the kids, and on a night shift says there is no management or anyone else to cover him so he wouldn't be able to leave.

OddBoots Sun 07-Feb-16 20:04:25

Well in theory this applies but I can't see how it could apply to every job. I don't think (for example) a nanny could just leave her or his charges just like that so it must depend exactly what your dh does for a job

AnchorDownDeepBreath Sun 07-Feb-16 20:11:46

Odd is right - in theory, anyone can ask for time off as long as there has been a suitable reason (worsening of an existing condition, new injury, accident - nothing that was known about in advance or could have been predicted). You can leave and contact your employer ASAP, if you need too.

However, it is a bit more complex. Employers can't dismiss you because of this time, or treat you unfairly for taking time off, and they can't refuse reasonable time off. What is reasonable will probably depend on the situation. If your DP is in the NHS and leaving would leave the ward understaffed, it'd probably have to be quite serious to be considered reasonable.

Do you work nights too? If you're with the children, you will be expected to deal with the situation rather than your DP. Transport issues etc aren't taken into account here. On a night shift, it's probably quite obvious to his employer that somebody is with the children, as they wouldn't be on there own and there is no conventional childcare.

Jesabel Sun 07-Feb-16 20:16:29

A nanny would have to get her boss to come back asap so she could go though I guess. The employer has to have a contingency plan.

DP isn't a surgeon or anything, it's more an admin/reception type role. I can't believe they can genuinely say there is no way you can leave your shift and no one to cover.

Jesabel Sun 07-Feb-16 20:18:44

Sometimes the kids are with a babysitter, and of course if I have an accident or am taken ill while looking after them he would need to come home.

What do you mean by transport issues aren't taken into account?

AnchorDownDeepBreath Sun 07-Feb-16 20:19:40

The same would be true for your DP. Presumably, if you aren't around and there is a big emergency, he would have someone to call? It might be a senior manager or someone who is responsible for the ward and "on call" for critical things, but not actually at work. Then when they came to take over, he could leave.

There will be a system in place, but it's quite likely that your DP doesn't think it's worth envoking. If something major had happened, he probably would, without thinking.

Jesabel Sun 07-Feb-16 20:23:31

He says there is no system, no time off for dependents, no one to call. But there must be confused

AnchorDownDeepBreath Sun 07-Feb-16 20:24:07

It's been a while since I've had to look into this, but I think any type of transport issue. So if he had the car, or if you can't drive, you'd be expected to get a taxi rather than call him from work. There was a big debate about it because of the added cost of taxis (that most people probably couldn't afford) but as far as I know, that's still the case.

If the children were with a babysitter, one of you would need to get there - it may be considered more reasonable for you to go depending on your job. If you got injured or have an accident, he'd have to leave, if it was serious enough.

I think it'll probably come down to what he feels is serious enough to call someone senior in.

CrazyDuchess Sun 07-Feb-16 20:51:18

Hi - I have worked in various NHS roles under the admin/corporate sections as I must admit the parental leave is a little wooly depending on where you work.

In one place I was given 5 days paid carers leave if my DD was taken ill, in another you have to take unpaid leave. I have not heard of not being allowed to leave to tend to a sick dependant - and I am not sure how they can enforce it in an emergency situation.

I agree with a contingency issue but in reality especially. In the NHS there rarely is, especially if using specialist software, calling in agency staff isn't feasible.

You can look online for the NHS staff had book that provides some guidance around parental leave, but I think in this case as an earlier poster has stated, I guess it would depend on your DPs interpretation as to whether it is urgent enough to leave work.

Stillunexpected Mon 08-Feb-16 13:03:44

OP, do you have a specific scenario in mind for which your DP would have to leave work at night with no notice? As others have said, your children obviously won't be left alone at night so it would be reasonable for an employer to expect that whoever is looking after them would be able to deal with the emergency. Obviously, there could be circumstances where a second parent is urgently required but I think your DP is probably right that there wouldn't immediately be anyone available to cover. If someone needs to cover his role (i.e. he can't just leave and finish off the work the following day, or his role actually requires some physical presence which it sounds is the case) then the best the employer could do would be to get some emergency cover. At night, that could well take hours and his shift might be over by then.

I suspect when your DP says there is no cover and he has no right to leave what he really means is that there is no written policy which he is aware of and he doesn't want to ask in case it draws attention.

gamerwidow Mon 08-Feb-16 13:09:13

At our NHS trust you can leave in an emergency to look after sick children but it has to be taken as unpaid or annual leave and you are expected to find alternative childcare did the next day you are in.

Choughed Mon 08-Feb-16 21:09:13

It doesn't sound like your DH is asking the right questions. But if these are hypothetical scenarios then I wouldn't worry too much.

Jesabel Mon 08-Feb-16 21:57:18

Yes, there's a specific scenario where sometimes there is a few hours crossover (e.g. he leaves at tea time and I don't get back till midnight) where they are left with a (teenage) babysitter. One of the kids became ill and a parent needed to get back.

Fizrim Mon 08-Feb-16 22:02:09

Are you working in that specific scenario? You haven't mentioned how your own company/employment is about letting you have time off.

drspouse Mon 08-Feb-16 22:04:47

What would happen if he was taken ill on shift? Who would he notify then?

Filmstar01 Mon 08-Feb-16 22:08:10

Ask him to check out their special leave policy.

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