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Is there any legal right to time off when a family member dies? Does the employer have to give paid time off?

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If you have a family death or emergency does your employer have to give you time off?

The Parental Leave Act 1998 contains a limited right to leave from work in time of family crisis. This is known as force majeure leave. It arises where, for urgent family reasons, the immediate presence of the employee is indispensable owing to an injury or illness involving a close family member such as a spouse or partner, a parent, a son, daughter, brother, sister or grandparent. Force majeure leave does not give any entitlement to leave following the death of a close family member. The maximum amount of such leave is 3 days in any 12-month period, or 5 days in a 36-month period. The employee is entitled to be paid while on such leave.

Compassionate leave, for example, following the death of a family member, is not an entitlement in legislation. Whether an employee is able to take time off on such an occasion depends on any provision in the employee's contract providing for such leave, the existence of a custom and practice within the job, or the employer's discretion.

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