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From 1 October 2019, employees will be permitted to take 5 working days’ paid leave (pro-rated for part-time employees) in any rolling 12-month period to deal with emergencies involving dependants. A dependant includes a spouse, civil partner, child, parent or someone who lives with the employee as part of their family (excluding a lodger or boarder). 



This change has been made in recognition of the challenges to employees when childcare provision breaks down unexpectedly. Equally this may apply to employees with responsibilities for elderly dependants.


The intention is that these provisions will afford further flexibility to employees and avoid the need to take sick leave in these situations.  In addition, that it will have a positive impact in relation to closing the University’s Gender Pay Gap, by supporting career progression through increased flexibility for carers.


Current provision

The University currently permits employees to take unpaid leave to cover emergency situations relating to dependants:

  • an unexpected disruption in care arrangements, for instance when a nursery, school or nursing home closes unexpectedly;
  • illness, injury or assault;
  • an incident at school or nursery.

Employees are entitled to a reasonable amount of time off to deal with the emergency, depending on the situation, but typically around one or two days of leave is taken each time.   


New provision

With effect 1 October 2019, the emergency leave provisions will change to allow an employee to take up to 5 working days of paid leave in a rolling 12-month period to deal with these types of emergencies. Please note the following:

  • The 5 working days’ paid leave entitlement will be pro-rated for part-time employees.
  • A limit of 2 working days’ paid leave is permitted on any single occasion (this is not pro-rated).
  • This leave is to cover genuine and unforeseen emergencies and to arrange longer term care if required.As such, if an employee knows in advance that they are going to need time off (for instance to take their child to a hospital appointment), they must book annual leave in the usual way. Similarly, it may be more appropriate to request annual leave, parental leave or flexible working as appropriate for longer term care requirements.
  • Where paid emergency leave for dependants has been exhausted, an employee may be entitled to further unpaid leave to deal with the emergency situation, depending on the circumstances. Employees and managers should seek the advice of their HR Advisor if they are unsure.
  • The University’s current separate provision for compassionate leave will be retained.
  • The University’s current separate provision for up to 1 day of unpaid leave (or annual leave) to deal with a severe and unexpected domestic emergency (unrelated to children or dependants) requiring their presence at home, will be retained.


Example of pro-rating leave:

An employee works 3 days per week.  They require emergency leave due to the unforeseen breakdown in childcare arrangements.  They have an entitlement of 3 paid working days in any rolling 12-month period for emergencies connected with dependants (i.e. 3/5 x 5 days).  If they have taken 1 day of paid leave in the last 12 months, they have 2 days remaining.  They may take up to two days of paid leave on this single occasion. If they require more time to arrange care, they can apply for unpaid or annual leave.


Booking leave

Where emergency leave is required, an employee should contact their line manager, or follow the normal reporting procedure of their Institution, as soon as reasonably practicable. 


Where the relevant approvals have been obtained, the completed CHRIS/68 Form should be sent to the HR Administration Team on in the usual way (or the Clinical School HR Administration Team on as appropriate), to update the employee’s HR record.  The CHRIS/68 Form template will be amended to allow for claims for paid and unpaid emergency leave for reasons connected with dependants.


Should a department submit a CHRIS/68 form claiming paid emergency leave in excess of an employee’s entitlement under the terms of the Special Leave Policy, the HR Administration Team will inform the department of the correct entitlement and the HR record will be updated accordingly.  It is the responsibility of the department to inform the employee of any adjusted entitlement.


For administration purposes, confirmation of emergency leave will be sent by email to the employee and department by the HR Administration Team.



Details around emergency leave for dependants can be found in the University’s Special Leave Policy at on the HR Services webpages.  An amended version of this policy, together with revised references to emergency leave in the Assistant Staff Handbook, Staff Guide (academic, academic-related and research) and related documentation, will be available on the HR Services webpages from 1 October 2019. 


Minor revisions have also been made to the Assistant Staff Handbook/Staff Guide (academic, academic-related and research) to bring references to unpaid parental leave and flexible working in line with legislation and to align compassionate leave provisions with the Special Leave Policy wording.