The world of work has undergone drastic changes in recent years. Employers today find themselves in a position where the employees expect them to provide flexible working hours, alternative working styles, flexible workspaces, and, in certain cases, compassionate leave.
Compassionate leave in the UK is a complex and often misunderstood area of employment law.
A lot of businesses in the UK don’t realize that compassionate leave is available to them if they want it. It requires UK employers to provide compassionate leave for their employees under certain circumstances.
Understanding Compassionate Leave
Compassionate leave is a benefit that an employer will provide to their employees in order to give them time away from work for a set period. This type of leave helps employees with family emergencies or personal issues.
In the United Kingdom, there are three conditions that need to be met before an employee can receive compassionate leave:
- What type of emergency applies?
- The length of the emergency.
- How long does the person have responsibility for care?
UK law states that it can give employees with responsibility for care compassionate leave for up to 4 weeks in order to deal with a family crisis.
If an employee has not received permission from their employer and they are still wishing to take compassionate leave, the application will require the signature of an official, such as a manager, HR manager, or someone from the legal staff.
If an employee who has to take care of their child has received compassionate leave for 5 days, they can consider it as a fully paid leave for tax. Even if the employee’s work is not exceptionally demanding, or does not require their presence.
Some benefits associated with compassionate leave are:
- It may help reduce or eliminate personal financial burdens that the family might experience because of the care responsibilities.
- Employees can take time to care for their children, which they cannot do during work hours.
How to Apply For Compassionate Leave in the UK?
You should apply for compassionate leave in the UK three months before the date of absence. An official signs the form within the company’s organization, such as the HR manager, process management, or legal counsel.
The UK Labour Court defines compassionate leave as “An employee’s personal circumstances such as illness and domestic violence” where the person will be away from work for up to three months (it can extend up to 9 weeks in total).
In the UK, a person can get a month off work for a family reason if the employer agrees to the leave. This is because of the United Kingdom’s Family and Medical Leave Regulations. The leave is unpaid because it does not include a “serious health condition”.
Who Is Eligible For Compassionate Leave In The UK?
- A person needs to have a personal emergency, such as being ill or domestic violence.
- The person does not have responsibility for care.
- The employee must apply three months before the date of absence and can avail of an extended leave of three months.
- The employees cannot be absent for over 2 weeks in a row.
- The company only grants compassionate leave on a case-by-case basis.
- The employee does not have to prove hardship.
- The employees can take compassionate leave on a full, half, or quarter-time basis, depending on if it is for workdays or days off of work.
- The employees must apply for compassionate leave outside of working hours, so if they cannot get time off during working hours, they may apply for 4 weeks of compassionate leave during non-working hours.
- The employees who have the burden of childcare provided that they cannot take care of their child during work hours can also apply for compassionate leave.
How Can Employees Require Compassionate Leave?
- The employee can apply for a leave for reasons, such as an illness or domestic violence, or because of the personal care responsibility of any children, they need time away from work for themselves and their family members.
- The employee must request the leave in writing. This is because the employer will have time to take their own decision on whether to grant the leave.
- It will not be necessary for an HR officer or manager to sign off on a written leave request that the employee presents. The employee may approach them for help, however.
- Employees may seek compensation if they cannot work because of complications that arise from their personal emergency. The employer can pay different salaries for employees who are absent because of the reasons given above, as long as they are equivalent.
- If the employee can’t continue working, they don’t have to leave to take for three months. They may still apply for compassionate leave, however.
- The employer will decide on whether to grant the leave. If they decide not to grant it, they will contact the employee and tell them they denied their request.
- The employer also must be accessible for employees who need time off within that period because of their personal issues.
- The employee will only receive a compassionate leave if the employer judges it would be difficult for him or her to return to work without some type of medical treatment or treatment in a hospital setting.
The need to take time out from work for an important reason, such as family bereavement or illness, is a very real scenario that can take place in any business. The stakes, however, are much higher for the employee and the company and that’s why it is important to consider compassionate leave.
Use compassionate leave to attend to an ill member of your family, especially if medical insurance does not cover them. With compassionate leave, you can remain with your loved ones at one of the most difficult times of their lives. The idea of compassionate leave can be confusing. It is important that an employee knows their rights to compassionate leave, but it is also equally important that the employer knows the rules.