Under what circumstances are employees allowed time off work?

Employees (and, in some situations, other workers) have the legal right to be permitted paid or unpaid time off work for various designated purposes. For example, employees must be allowed to take a reasonable amount of time off work to enable them to carry out their functions as a trade union official, employee representative, member of a European Works Council or special negotiating body, safety representative, or pension scheme trustee. Employees who are Justices of the Peace or who are officials or members of certain public bodies have the right to a reasonable amount of unpaid time off work to carry out their functions.

Trade union members are entitled to a reasonable amount of time off to carry out trade union activities, while employees who are members or officials of specified public bodies are entitled to reasonable time off work to fulfil their functions.

Employees who are trade union learning representatives are entitled to a reasonable amount of paid time off to analyse learning or training needs, arrange learning or training, or promote the value of learning or training to trade union members.

Employees under notice of redundancy must be granted time off to look for new work or arrange retraining.

Parents (and adoptive parents) have the qualified right to take up to 13 weeks' unpaid parental leave, while others with dependants have the right to take unpaid time off to deal with a family emergency and pregnant employees are entitled to time off to attend antenatal appointments. A worker who agrees to act as a companion at a colleague's disciplinary or grievance hearing must be granted time off.