Time Off Work
Information Note No.11 Time Off - Rights and Responsibilities
– See Family-Friendly Policies
– See Holidays
All pregnant employees are entitled to time off with pay to keep appointments for ante-natal care made on the advice of a registered medical practitioner, midwife or health visitor. Ante-natal care may include relaxation classes and parent-craft classes. Except for the first appointment, the employee must show the employer, if requested, a certificate from a registered medical practitioner, midwife or health visitor, confirming the pregnancy and an appointment card or some other document showing that an appointment has been made.
All employees are entitled to reasonable time off work without pay to deal with an emergency involving a dependant; for example, if a dependant falls ill or is injured, if care arrangements break down, or to arrange or attend a dependant’s funeral.
Further details on circumstances when leave can be taken and the definition of a dependant can be found below:
Disciplinary or grievance hearings
Workers have the right to take paid time off during working hours to accompany fellow workers employed by the same employer to certain disciplinary and grievance hearings.
Employees who act as representatives for consultation about redundancies or business transfers, or are candidates to be representatives of this kind, are entitled to reasonable time off with pay during working hours to perform these functions and to receive appropriate training. Further details can be found below
Flexible working hearings
Parents of children under the age of seventeen (or disabled children under the age of eighteen) and carers of adults have the right to apply to their employer to work more flexibly. The employer has a statutory duty to consider the request seriously and to refuse it only if there are clear business grounds for doing so. If the employer and employee meet to discuss the request at a flexible working hearing then the employee can be accompanied by a colleague - who has the right to paid time off during working hours to attend.
Jury service is a public duty. Unless someone is disqualified, has the right to be excused or has a valid reason for discretionary excusal then they must serve.
All Jurors are selected at random by computer from the electoral register. Everyone on the electoral register from the ages of 18 to 69 may be selected even if they are not eligible to serve on a Jury. Some people never get called, others get called more than once.
Courts can pay for loss of earnings, travel costs and a subsistence rate during jury service. An employee can make a complaint to an employment tribunal if they are dismissed or suffer detriment for taking time off for jury service.
Maternity Leave (ordinary)
See Maternity Leave
Maternity leave (additional)
See Maternity Leave
Pension scheme trustees and directors of trustee companies
Employees who are trustees of an occupational pension scheme (as defined in Section 1 of the Pension Schemes (Northern Ireland) Act 1993) or directors of trustee companies are entitled to reasonable time off with pay to carry out any of their trustee’s duties, or to receive training relevant to those duties.
Under certain circumstances employers must give employees who hold certain public positions reasonable time off to perform the duties associated with them.
This provision covers such offices, among others, as justice of the peace, prison visitor, members of a local authority, members of district policing partnerships, a statutory tribunal, and certain health and education authorities. Employers do not have to pay employees for the time taken off for public duties. Further details can be found below.
Job Hunting or to Arrange Training when Facing Redundancy
An employee who is being made redundant and who has been continuously employed by the same employer for at least two years is entitled, whilst under notice, to take reasonable time off with pay within working hours to look for another job, or to make arrangements for training for future employment.
Further details about time off for job hunting or to arrange training when facing redundancy can be found ibelow.
Employees who are:
- safety representatives appointed under the Safety Representatives and Safety Committee Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1979 by a trade union recognised by their employer;
- representatives of employee safety elected under the Health and Safety (Consultation with Employees) Regulations 1996, to represent employees not covered by the 1977 Regulations; or
- safety representatives elected under the Offshore Installations (Safety Representatives and Safety Committee) Regulations 1989;
are entitled to time off with pay to carry out their functions and to undergo training. Further details of these provisions may be found in the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland’s (HSENI) booklet: ‘Safety Representatives and Safety Committees’, containing the Regulations and the Code of Practice on this subject.
Study or training
Employees aged 16 or 17 who have not achieved a certain standard in their education or training have the right to reasonable time off with pay to study or train for a relevant qualification which will help them towards that standard. Certain employees aged 18 have the right to complete study or training already begun. The study or training can be in the workplace, at college, with another employer or a training provider, or elsewhere.
There is no qualifying period of employment for the employee. Details can be found below.
Trade union duties and activities
An employee who is an official of an independent trade union which is recognised by the employer must be allowed reasonable time off with pay during working hours to:
- carry out those duties as an official which relate to matters for which the employer has recognised the union, or any other functions which the employer has agreed the union may perform;
- consult with the employer, or receive information from the employer, about mass redundancies or business transfers; or
- undergo training relevant to those duties and which is approved by the Trades Union Congress, or the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, or the independent union of which he is a member.
An employee who is a member of an independent trade union, which is recognised by the employer, is entitled to reasonable time off for certain trade union activities. The employer is not obliged to pay the employee for time off for these activities.
The LRA Code of Practice – Time Off for Trade Union duties and activities provides guidance on the time off to be permitted by an employer.
Union learning representatives
An employee who is a member of an independent trade union which is recognised by the employer and who is a Union Learning Representative must be allowed reasonable time off with pay during working hours to:
- carry out those duties that relate to Union Learning Representatives; or
- undergo training relevant to the duties of a Union Learning Representative.
The LRA can provide guidance on the time off to be permitted by an employer for Union Learning Representatives see Code of Pracice.-Time Off for Trade Union duties and activitiesTime off for training representatives‘