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Why can't I use annual leave to look after sick child?

(21 Posts)
Utterfool96 Wed 26-Apr-17 18:55:45

Sorry if this is old hat.
I don't expect to get paid if I'm off work looking after my children.
I thought it was reasonable to use annual leave though.
Employer says 'no'.
I've lost 2 full days pay when I've loads of leave to take.
Have looked at company 'Special Leave' policy and it says AL should be used before taking unpaid leave.
I think I may not have legal right to use annual leave, but I can't see how 'Special Leave' policy doesn't apply.
Any bright sparks know where I stand?
Like everyone, I can't really afford to lose the pay.

Akire Wed 26-Apr-17 18:58:18

Only thing I can think of is that sudden gaps make the business or whatever funaction less well or lose money. So all leave has to be booked and hen covered by staff. So by making you take it unpaid stops people taking random days off for children or other reason and means business can run better?
That's not to say it's not a pain for you but it would stop people taking days when they like.

Redglitter Wed 26-Apr-17 18:58:56

That's bizarre. Surely what you do with your annual leave is your choice.

Sorry can't offer any legal advice but that just seems ridiculous

Bleurghghghgh Wed 26-Apr-17 19:01:45

The 'annual leave before unpaid' thing is referring to if you desperately needed a week off in advance but didn't want to take it as AL.

There's likely also a clause that says AL has to be booked x days/weeks in advance so you aren't entitled to use that at short notice which is where the unpaid kicks in.

If you were to book a week off to follow a child having surgery that would be different

Newtssuitcase Wed 26-Apr-17 19:05:18

Annual leave can't be taken at your discretion. It is subject to employer approval. As such your employer can refuse any request you make for annual leave.

However in your shoes I would push the point. Presumably you've already taken the time and so I can't see how your employer can argue that you can't have it as annual leave (unless you tried to say you were sick and were caught out and are trying to change the position retrospectively)

Floralnomad Wed 26-Apr-17 19:05:23

The way I see it is as its short notice they may not be able to give it as AL as they may have a policy of only so many people on AL at any particular time and so letting you have the time as AL would be going against policy .

OhtoblazeswithElvira Wed 26-Apr-17 19:05:26

What is the reason you can't book annual leave at short notice? Is it that disruptive to the business? What do your T&C say about when you can take leave?

NSEA Wed 26-Apr-17 19:08:37

It's definitely an attempt to limit the request. Doesn't demonstrate good flexibility on there part.

NoSquirrels Wed 26-Apr-17 19:09:48

You need to look at your annual leave policy wording. Most have restrictions on when & how you can book it, so if you haven't given enough notice (and if child is unexpectedly sick this would apply) then that would be the grounds to refuse.

Most good employers are a little lenient to begin with - how much/how often has this happened, do you understand why it is an issue particularly?

drspouse Wed 26-Apr-17 19:10:36

If you can take AL at short notice.
And you have some left.
And it's not a difficult time for the business.
Just tell them you're going shopping!

Utterfool96 Wed 26-Apr-17 19:13:41

Hmm. Still not quite sure when Special Leave could actually apply, rarely does the need to take time off for family happen with reasonable amounts of warning. Sometimes, eg planned surgery, but rarely.
Guess I need to see it from the company's point of view but just so galling, I work part-time and the two separate days I took off were both my long day, so half my weekly wage and got more annual leave than I can take. Daughter is 8 and I think it's the first time I've ever taken time of work due to her being ill.

booellesmum Wed 26-Apr-17 19:16:25

I work in the NHS. Our policy is if you have to leave to pick up a sick child you would be given the rest of that day off as emergency carers leave. Any time after that is annual leave unless you have no leave left and then it is unpaid. If part- time you can also opt to work the hours back.
It will vary from work place to work place as special leave policies are a local negotiation not a national entitlement (like Bank Holidays).
You will need to read your policy carefully and speak to HR.

OhtoblazeswithElvira Wed 26-Apr-17 19:20:36

If you absolutely have to have used all your annual leave before you can access special leave... that really limits access to special leave.

You say that you have more leave than you can take. Does that mean that if you resigned now they'd have to pay you for unused annual leave?

Utterfool96 Wed 26-Apr-17 19:27:26

Probably don't get me started on the whole not taking my annual leave thing, it's lengthy, probably partially my own fault but put it this way, it isn't just a matter of filling in a form in time. Don't get paid for untaken leave execept for untaken leave between resignation (which I do in my head on a weekly basis) and actually leaving.
HR are the ones who have said 'no', they made no reference to the Special Leave policy which I quoted to them in an email asking for clarification.

Mehfruittea Wed 26-Apr-17 19:37:38

I'm alive and have always insisted annual leave cannot be taken in these circumstances. I've managed departments of up to hundred people and have to apply the same rule to everyone. I get requests for duvet days where people just don't want to come in today and want to take it as annual leave. Err, no. For consistency I ask annual leave to be booked with one weeks notice and so that I can plan my resource. When reviewing my departments before months if I can see we didn't perform well on a certain day or week I will always look at what my sickness and absence levels are. If I've agreed annual leave and it's left me short staffed and it's my fault that I've not hit target. If absence is emergency leave or sickness then it's a different issue to manage. Most people can't afford to take unpaid leave willy-nilly and so will behave genuinely and restricting it to the bare minimum. I appreciate it's harsh on those who genuinely cannot afford to take the unpaid leave but need the time and it's from that perspective that I would be prepared to negotiate with the member of staff and HR to retrospectively allow annual leave within the payroll system but without altering my reports for resourcing.

Hope this makes sense!

PaintingByNumbers Wed 26-Apr-17 19:39:29

I can see why people just phone in sick instead

Utterfool96 Wed 26-Apr-17 19:58:56

Guess it's hard to look at it from an organisational point of view when you're feeling generally a bit aggrieved. Guess I should count myself lucky that my kids are rarely ill and bloomin make sure ex takes the day off next time!

Mehfruittea Wed 26-Apr-17 20:17:33

I know I have a tough stance on this, I'm also a Mum! My DH and I take alternate days, even though I earn twice his salary. It's not fair to his employer to put all the responsibility in to him, just because he earns less. But I know we are fortunate enough to not have financial worries. I also ask my staff when is it their OH's turn?! I a half jokey way, and only when they have a high volume of emergency leave. I have someone who has sickness or emergency leave for at least 3 days every month but plans it so well they are in the right side of each policy to prevent me from tackling it. Genuine people don't realise how much of a problem this is, because it wouldn't occur to you to take the piss with it.

Utterfool96 Wed 26-Apr-17 20:50:28

In a small way you've made me feel better-thinking that HR are being consistent rather than just plain mean! Still feels like they are, but that's because they're not giving me what I want! Am defo going to get them to clarify what their policy means though. Thanks.

StealthPolarBear Wed 26-Apr-17 20:54:18

Yes, if something isn't delivered and 'too much ' annual leave has been approved then questions would be asked.

Emphasise Wed 26-Apr-17 21:01:39

It's to discourage short notice days off, which can be really disruptive.

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