Anxiety, Care Affecting Your Working Role, Employment, Leaving Work, Work-Life Balance

I’m worried about leaving work in an emergency

I’m worried about leaving work in an emergency

Why don’t you try? : Find out about getting time off in an emergency

Time off in an emergency
The law gives you the right to take time off work in certain circumstances, but you might not be paid for this time off. Your rights depend on your employment status – check your employment status.

Your contract of employment might give you additional rights to the ones listed on this page – check it to see.

If you don’t have a written contract of employment, you might still have extra rights. This might have been verbally agreed with your employer, or come about because of the way things are done in your workplace.

Time off for emergencies
If you’re an employee, you’re entitled to take reasonable time off work to deal with unexpected problems or emergencies with close family members, or other people who depend on you. This is called ‘dependant leave’.

You won’t be paid unless your contract of employment says so, but you don’t have to make it up later on. There is no set amount of time you can take off as it depends on the situation. You can take time off, for example, when:

  • Someone gets ill or is injured or assaulted (This includes mental or physical illnesses that don’t have to be life-threatening or need full-time care – it could be an existing condition that has worsened.)
  • Someone dies
  • Care arrangements for someone suddenly break down. For example:
  • A child minder or carer doesn’t turn up to look after a dependant
  • A nursing home or nursery closes unexpectedly
  • You need to deal with an unexpected incident involving your child at their school

Taking time off
Tell your employer as soon as possible if you need time off. If it’s an emergency, you may not be able to do this before you leave work but you should let your employer know as soon as possible.

You don’t have to do this in writing or give written proof.

If your employer won’t let you take time off
You should have an informal conversation first. Explain why you need the time off. You could get help to make your case from a trade union rep if you have one. If this doesn’t work, you should raise a grievance with your employer.

Your employer mustn’t:

  • Treat you unfairly for taking time off, for example refusing you training or promotion
  • Dismiss you or choose you for redundancy because you asked for time off for a dependant
  • Refuse you reasonable time off

If you think you’ve been unfairly treated for taking time off for dependants, get advice from your staff or trade union representative or Acas.


Acas helpline

Telephone: 0300 123 11 00
Textphone: 18001 0300 123 1100
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Find out about call charges

Sources: Citizens Advice
Source: GOD UK
Image from Pixabay at Pexels

Here’s a tip for you to try this week :

Find out about your right to time off in an emergency and have a conversation with your boss at work about it this week,

You can visit the Bridgit Shop at anytime to find our what products and services can support you.

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