How much Compassionate Leave are employees entitled to?

legal_updates

Under section 57(1) of the Employment Rights Act 1996, "an employee is entitled to be permitted by their employer to take a reasonable amount of time off, during the employee's working hours.

Author: Dennis Chapman
Published:
Reading time: 2 minutes

This article is 10 years old.

Read our disclaimer keyboard_arrow_down

This website content is intended as a general guide to law as it applies to the motor trade. Lawgistics has taken every effort to ensure that the contents are as accurate and up to date as at the date of first publication.

The laws and opinions expressed within this website may be varied as the law develops. As such we cannot accept liability for or the consequence of, any change of law, or official guidelines since publication or any misuse of the information provided.

The opinions in this website are based upon the experience of the authors and it must be recognised that only the courts and recognised tribunals can interpret the law with authority.

Examples given within the website are based on the experience of the authors and centre upon issues that commonly give rise to disputes. Each situation in practice will be different and may comprise several points commented upon.

If you have any doubt about the correct legal position you should seek further legal advice from Lawgistics or a suitably qualified solicitor. We cannot accept liability for your failure to take professional advice where it should reasonably be sought by a prudent person.

All characters are fictitious and should not be taken as referring to any person living or dead.

Use of this website shall be considered acceptance of the terms of the disclaimer presented above.

This is an area we have numerous queries about. To clarify, an employee who suffers the death of a specific relative are entitled to compassionate leave from work.

Under section 57(1) of the Employment Rights Act 1996, “an employee is entitled to be permitted by their employer to take a reasonable amount of time off, during the employee’s working hours, in order to take action which is necessary… in consequence of the death of a dependant.” 

A dependant is defined as the following people; 

  • Mother
  • Father
  • Spouse
  • Partner
  • Son
  • Daughter
  • Any member of an employee’s household who’s everyday care is their responsibility

Employees are usually allowed up to 3 days leave and a further 1 day to attend the funeral. It is at the employer’s discretion as to whether to pay the employee for this time; however, it has been recommended that the initial 3 days should be paid. Any time scales an individual employer wishes to set out should be placed into an employee’s contract of employment or staff handbook to avoid confusion at a later date.

We suggest the 3 days unpaid is fair in these circumstances, however it has been known for some employers to grant up to 5 days paid leave. Again, this is discretional. This leave, however, only applies to immediate family, there is a grey area over the family of an employees spouse or the death of close friends, etc. Employers should be understanding and flexible to allow as much unpaid leave as necessary.

It will be dependent on the individuals circumstances as to how much paid leave is granted. 

Dennis Chapman

In remembrance of Dennis Chapman 1951 -2015

Read more by this author

Getting in touch

You can contact us via the form or you can call us on 01480 455500.