Special leave is a request for time off work, either paid or unpaid. We want colleagues to ask for the support they need and will always handle things as sensitively as possible. The following options have been developed in consultation with the trade union partners and observe your legal entitlements and are in line with the requirements of the Equality Act 2010.
We want to support colleagues when someone close to them dies or is seriously ill. We know that the death of someone close, or other upsetting situations, can affect people in different ways. Individual circumstances, the nature of the relationships and the required observance of different religions may vary. As a guide, when your relationship is really close with the person who’s died or is ill, we’ll generally give two-weeks paid leave. This can be taken as a single block or as 2 separate weeks within 56 weeks of the bereavement.
We’ll also give you one day paid leave if you need to attend a funeral. Your manager will decide, so talk to them about what’s happened and agree what kind of support you need.Your attendance record will be updated by your manager using TRS (Time recording System).
Parental Bereavement Leave
We understand that losing a child is an unimaginable trauma. This can be an extremely difficult time for any parent who will be grieving the sudden and unexpected death of a baby or young child. Parents will be given two-weeks paid leave if they lose a child under the age of 18 or suffer a stillbirth from 24 weeks of pregnancy. This can be taken as a single block or as 2 separate weeks within 56 weeks of the bereavement.
This will help, alongside other support to remove any pressure from parents to come back to work too quickly and provide the time to grieve following the death of a baby or their young child. It is important for our colleagues to feel they’re being treated with dignity and compassion when such a tragedy occurs.
Supporting colleagues experiencing domestic abuse
Domestic abuse is wholly unacceptable and inexcusable behaviour and responsibility for domestic abuse lies with the perpetrator. We strive to promote an organisational culture which invites colleagues to seek support if they are subjected to domestic abuse. We recognise that a colleague who is experiencing, or has experienced domestic abuse, has the right to raise the issue with us in the knowledge that it will be treated in strict confidence and dealt with as sensitively and effectively as possible. If you are experiencing domestic abuse we will make every effort to assist you, for example, we will give up to 5 of your normal working days in any leave year (i.e. 1 September to the 31 August) to support you to leave your abusive partner safely and to seek support. We will also arrange an advance of your pay in an emergency situation. Have a look at the Domestic Abuse Policy and Guidance for more information.
Emergency or Dependency Leave
This leave is for unexpected emergencies, such as securing a damaged property or a situation involving a dependent. We know that every emergency situation is different but usually you’ll just need one or two days off to deal with the immediate problem. As a rule of thumb, we’ll generally give up to 5 of your normal working days in any leave year (i.e. 1 September to the 31 August). Talk to your manager about your options, for example, working from home rather than taking leave may be an option. Where you do need to take paid special leave, your manager will consider things like how serious the situation is and if someone needs care how close you are to them. Your attendance record will be updated by your manager using TRS (Time recording System).
We know that sometimes colleagues may need time off work to go to appointments for IVF/fertility treatment. We also know that you may want to accompany your partner if they are undergoing treatment. If you need to go to an appointment to prepare for, or undergo treatment, or accompany your partner if they are undergoing treatment, we’ll always give you credit equal to the duration of your appointment. This credit will not include normal commuting time and the credit cannot exceed your normal working hours. You should claim your time back using TRS (Time recording System).
Jury Service or Attendance at Court as a Witness
You’ll get your normal pay while on jury service, so there is no need for you to claim for loss of earnings from the court. You should claim your time back using TRS (Time recording System). We appreciate that some things you see and hear might be upsetting so remember that we have an Employee Assistance Programme. Your manager will update your attendance record using TRS (Time recording System).
If you’re a member of a reserve force, you should let your manager know at start of your employment. Colleagues who would like to join the reserve forces while in employment should discuss this with their line manager. We will support you to be able to attend training and will give you up to 5 days paid special leave. If you need more time off, you should use your holidays or talk to your manager about unpaid special leave. This should be recorded on TRS (Time recording System).
Time Off for Medical Appointments
You’re encouraged to arrange appointments in your own time; however, if that’s not possible you should make the appointment at a time that will cause the least disruption, for example, at the beginning or end of the day. If this is not possible, talk to your manager before confirming the appointment. You’ll then be given a credit equal to the duration of your appointment. This credit will not include normal commuting time and the credit cannot exceed your normal working hours. You should claim your time back using TRS (Time recording System).
Time Off for Public Duties
We’ll support colleagues who hold certain public positions to carry out their role. You’ll be given paid time off unless the relevant public body pays a salary or other taxable payment. If that’s the case, we’ll give you unpaid special leave. The amount of time off will depend on the circumstances, so you should talk to your manager and agree on what support you need. Have a look at the Special Leave policy for more information.
We know that there are many different ways to transition and we will support colleagues individually to ensure a successful workplace transition. Where colleagues are requesting time off for medical appointments the arrangement captured above will apply in the same way. You should claim your time back using the ‘Request time back for an external appointment’ in the TRS (Time recording System). For colleagues who require more time off, then this period of leave will be paid in accordance with the Attendance Management Policy arrangements. We also know that you may want to accompany your partner if they are attending medical appointments and we’ll give you credit equal to the duration of the appointment. This credit will not include normal commuting time and the credit cannot exceed your normal working hours. You should claim your time back using the ‘Request time back for an external appointment’ in the TRS (Time recording System). Our employment practices are aligned with this guidance from ACAS and the requirements of the Equality Act 2010.
Travel Disruption and Severe Weather Conditions
Bad weather, icy roads, floods or snow sometimes makes travel to or from work difficult or dangerous. We don’t want anyone to take unnecessary risks, but we also need to keep parliamentary business running. If you think you’re going to be late, or aren’t able to get in at all, let your manager know as soon as possible. Make sure you keep in touch with them so they know when to expect you back to work. If we decide to close the building due to bad weather, you’ll receive a flexi-update for the hours you’re scheduled to work. Your head of office/group has the discretion to allow credits for the duration of the delay or absence. You should claim your time back using TRS (Time recording System). Have a look at the Policy for information.
We recognise that you may need additional support, so remember you can talk to your Trade Union representative if you’re a member, or contact our Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) and speak to someone confidentially on 0800 032 9849.
If you’re a manager and need advice, contact the HR Office on 86500.
Also remember that you can appeal against any decision not to grant you special leave or a decision to grant you special leave without pay. Your Office Head/Team Leader will hear your appeal and to do this, you should put your concerns in writing. They will then meet with you and your representative to consider your concerns before letting you know of their decision.