We have a single mother working in our company whose 6-year old child had a transplant when she was a baby and she now has to attend regular hospital appointments. She also gets sick quite often. We made a lot of allowances for this particular individual such as flexible working hours and are very flexible when it comes to her taking time off to look after the child. We have recently reviewed our absence procedures and have a dilemna how the hospital appointments with the dependant should be treated. Should they be taken as annual leave or as unpaid leave, just like time off for dependants? Does the law say anything on this issue? We pay for the first five days of time off for dependants and for parental leave in any one year, although the statute states that we don’t have to do this. Do hospital appointments come into the same category as time off for dependants or is the time off for dependants specifically designed for emergencies? Thanks.

Alexandra Kitching

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