1. Introduction

1.1 The University of Glasgow recognises that members of staff may require time off during working hours to deal with an immediate issue or emergency involving a dependant.  As such, and in accordance with the Employment Rights Act 1996, staff will be granted ‘reasonable’ time off work to deal with such matters.  The right to time off to care for dependants applies to all staff, regardless of their length of service.   

1.2 This policy will be applied in a fair and consistent manner and without discrimination, in line with the University’s Equality & Diversity Policy which can be viewed at: www.gla.ac.uk/services/humanresources/equalitydiversity/policy/equalitypolicy

2. Definition Of A Dependant

A dependant is classed as someone who reasonably relies on the member of staff for assistance or support in relation to their wellbeing, for example being a primary carer.  A dependant will generally be the spouse, civil partner, partner (including same sex partners), child or parent of the member of staff, or someone who lives with the member of staff as part of their family, for example an elderly relative (although this does not extend to tenants, boarders or a staff member’s employee).

3. When Emergency Time Off May Be Required

3.1 Members of staff will be granted time off under this policy in order to:

  • Provide assistance on an occasion when a dependant falls ill, gives birth or is injured or assaulted;
  • Make arrangements for the provision of care for a dependant who is ill or injured;
  • Deal with an unexpected disruption or breakdown in care arrangements for a dependant, for instance when a nurse or child minder fails to turn up or due to school closure etc; 
  • Deal with an unexpected incident involving the member of staff's child during school hours, for instance if the child has been involved in a fight or is being suspended from school;
  • Deal with matters in consequence of the death of a dependant (reference to the Bereavement Policy may be applicable here depending on circumstances).

3.2 This list is not exhaustive - members of staff will be allowed time off in order to take necessary action to deal with any unexpected or sudden emergencies involving a dependant. For the time off to be justifiable, however, the member of staff’s presence must be crucial in resolving or assisting with the problem.

4. When Emergency Time Off Is Not Applicable

4.1 Once the emergency or immediate issue relating to the care of a dependant has been dealt with and/or necessary arrangements made, any subsequent time off will not be classed as ‘emergency time off’.  For example:

  • emergency time off may be required to take a dependant to hospital, however this leave type would not be applicable if further days/weeks off were required to care for the dependant at home;
  • emergency time off will be granted where childcare arrangements have broken down in order that the member of staff can make alternative arrangements, however if they need to provide care after the first day off, emergency time off would not apply.

4.2 Additional time off required in such circumstances should be dealt with via annual or unpaid leave.  The appropriate leave to be taken should be discussed and agreed with the line manager.

4.3 The right to time off under this policy does not cover situations where the need to take time off is known in advance.  In such cases, annual leave should be requested in the usual way.

4.4 Time off under this policy will not be granted for domestic emergencies e.g. where a boiler has burst, a washing machine is leaking/needs to be repaired etc.  Time off in such circumstances is at the discretion of the line manager, and should be taken from annual leave entitlement or as unpaid leave.

4.5 This policy is not intended to deal with longer term periods of absence or changes to working hours in order to manage caring responsibilities.  Where staff are looking to make either short or longer term changes to their working hours to accommodate caring responsibilities, they should discuss this matter with their line manager to establish if/how this can be accommodated.  It may also be useful to refer to the University’s Flexible Working Policy.

5. Leave Entitlement & Pay

The amount of time off which is reasonable will vary depending on the member of staff’s circumstances, but as the time off is to deal with the immediate problem and, where necessary, to make alternative care arrangements, it should not usually be longer than 1 day (2 days at the most).  There is, however, no limit on the number of times a member of staff can be absent from work under this right.  Time taken off under this policy is unpaid.  Staff may, however, choose to use annual leave in such circumstances.

6. Notification

Where a member of staff requires emergency time off, they must inform their line manager as soon as possible of the need to take time off, explaining the reason for the absence and how long they expect to be away from work.  If the manager cannot be contacted at that time, the member of staff should ensure that they have informed another appropriate staff member in the team who can update the manager on their return.

7. Manager Responsibility

On being informed that a member of staff requires emergency time off, and they have elected to take leave under this policy rather than using leave from their holiday entitlement, the manager must ensure that this is recorded through Manager Self Service.

8. Policy Review

This policy will be regularly reviewed by the University and may be amended at any time following appropriate consultation.

9. Further Information

For further advice and information on this policy, please contact your College/University Services HR team.

10. Useful/Related Links

Options for Flexible Working Policy

Annual Leave Policy

Unpaid Leave