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Employment Law Advice

Compassionate Leave Advice

We offer free advice for employers on bereavement leave or compassionate leave

Compassionate Leave Advice

What is Compassionate Leave?

Compassionate leave is defined as ‘reasonable time off for extreme personal reasons during working hours’. Encompassing bereavement leave, dependant care leave (or ‘time off for dependants’) compassionate leave is given to an employee who is dealing with a death, illness or emergency situation of a dependant.

The UK employment law on compassionate or bereavement leave and pay is extremely vague. The Employment Rights Act 1996 states only that employees are allowed a “reasonable” amount of time off to deal with matters. It is not a statutory right that this time off is paid.

The exact amount of leave and pay that you choose to offer employees should be outlined in your employment contracts, staff handbooks and intranet. When an employee does need compassionate leave, it can be a very stressful time and so making your compassionate leave policy clear and accessible will save your employees and yourself time and hassle.

Your Businesses’ Compassionate Leave Policy

You may wonder why your small business needs a compassionate leave policy but failing to define a policy in the event of an employee requesting compassionate leave could lead to problems in your business:

  • Vague definitions of compassionate pay and leave in UK law can lead to confusion and upset between both employer and employee. Employees who feel they are not given enough time off for compassionate leave may take additional time off as sick or using their holiday.
  • Failing to define who falls under the category of dependants can also prove problematic when giving compassionate leave.
  • Refusing to give appropriate compassionate leave means an employee could have a case for compensation.

Avoid Lengthy and Costly Disagreements With Staff

Speak to UK employment law professionals today for employer advice on creating a compassionate leave, bereavement leave or dependent care leave policy. Call now for expert and impartial free advice on 0161 115 6164

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