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Special leave

Emergency leave is part of the University’s Special Leave scheme.  Find out more.

Policy Details

Version: 1.0

Reviewed date: 2022

Next review: 2027

Owner: HR Policy Team

Emergency leave

Emergency

All members of staff have a statutory entitlement to reasonable unpaid time off work to deal with sudden emergencies involving a dependant and to make any necessary longer term arrangements.

The University agreed to an exceptional temporary arrangements including paid time off for emergency leave during the pandemic. The University Executive Board have now agreed to a new arrangement. From the 1 August 2022 there is provision for up to 5 days paid (pro rata) Family Emergency Leave and 1 day Domestic Emergency Leave. For further information see the tabs below. 

Emergency leave

Emergency leave

EXCEPTIONAL TEMPORARY ARRANGEMENTS FROM 23 MARCH 2020

Update 08.06.22

Following a review, the University has agreed to extend the leave until 31 July 2022.

If you are able to work at home around your caring responsibilities due to these circumstances, then please continue to do so. If you are not able to do any work, in recognition of these exceptional circumstances and in order to enable individuals time to adjust to balancing these demands, the University has agreed to temporarily extend its paid emergency leave to 10 days from Monday 23 March (pro-rata for part-time staff). This leave is dealt with on a rolling 12-month period.

Please keep in touch with your manager and request emergency leave via Trent self-service or if appropriate your manager can record it via People manager access. If you wish to take a half day you will need to book a full day on trent, but add in 'notes' that you only wish to take a half day and also email humanresources@exeter.ac.uk so that we can amend this for you. 

Until 31 July 2022, this supersedes the guidance below under "how much time off does this allow?"

Time off for dependants

All members of staff have a statutory entitlement to reasonable unpaid time off work to deal with sudden emergencies involving a dependant and to make any necessary longer term arrangements.

Who is a dependant?

A dependant is defined as a

  • spouse or
  • child or
  • parent or
  • a person living in the same household as the member of staff, such as a partner, elderly aunt or grandparent.
  • It does not include tenants, lodgers or boarders.

In certain circumstances a dependant may also be someone who reasonably relies on the member of staff for assistance. This could be an elderly relative who lives nearby where the member of staff is the primary carer or the only person who can help in an emergency.

In what circumstances can emergency leave be taken?

You will be entitled to time off to deal with the following types of emergencies:

  • a dependant falls ill, is injured or assaulted, or gives birth
  • childcare or other care arrangements unexpectedly break down
  • longer term care arrangements need to be made for a dependant who is unexpectedly ill or injured
  • your child is involved in an unexpected incident during school hours

Emergency leave does not include longer term care requirements, such as childcare or long term illness of a sick relative. In these circumstances you will be expected to use annual leave or flexible working arrangements.

How much time off does this allow?

Until 31 July 2022, employees can use up to 10 days paid leave in a rolling year. There is no set amount of time off for unpaid emergency leave, but the amount of time off work should be reasonable in the particular circumstances of the emergency. It should be sufficient to deal with the immediate problem and to arrange alternative longer term care if necessary. It is anticipated that one or two days will be the most that is needed.

However, this policy does provide an extension of compassionate leave by use of annual leave or unpaid leave or additional paid compassionate leave in certain emergency situations, by agreement with senior management and Human Resources.

How much notice do I need to give?

As soon as is reasonably practicable, you should notify your College Dean, manager or supervisor (or in accordance with the usual College/Service procedure for notification of absence) of the reason for your absence and keep them informed of the likely duration of this absence.

You should ensure that you discuss your absence with your College Dean or manager as soon as is reasonably practicable upon return to work. It must be agreed whether the time off is with pay (ie taken as annual leave or additional paid compassionate leave); without pay; or if the time will be made up.  Any unpaid leave must be notified to your HRBP as soon as possible so that salary adjustments can be made.

A member of staff can take a reasonable period of time off work to deal with an emergency involving a dependant. This leave is to allow employees to deal with unexpected or sudden problems and to make longer term arrangements as necessary. This leave must be agreed with your manager. It is a statutory right to have a reasonable period away from work to deal with an emergency, but this does not have to be paid. The University has agreed a paid element to help support staff.

From the 1 August 2022, the provision is a period of up to 5 working days[1] (pro rata for part time staff) paid leave within a 12 month rolling period. If you have had any time off under the old scheme this will not count towards the new provision. 

Dependent on the situation, a reasonable amount of unpaid time off to deal with the emergency may also be permitted.

How much time off is reasonable?

In most circumstances, the amount of leave will be 1-2 days at a time. This will, however, depend on individual circumstances. For example, if a child falls ill, the leave should be enough to cope with the immediate problem i.e. visiting the doctor and arranging longer term care. Where circumstances require a longer absence it may be more appropriate to do so under the Parental Leave scheme.

Who counts as a dependent?

A dependant could be;

  • a partner, child or parent, or someone who lives with the member of staff as part of their family. This could be, for example, an elderly aunt or grandparent. It does not include tenants or boarders who may be living in the family home.
  • someone who reasonably relies on the member of staff for assistance or where they are the primary carer.

When is emergency leave appropriate?

Situations where emergency leave is appropriate include:

  • To deal with unexpected disruption or breakdown in care arrangements
  • To deal with an unexpected incident during a child’s school hours, e.g. child sent home from school.
  • A dependant falling ill or being in an accident or being assaulted.

This policy applies where there is an unexpected or immediate crisis. If staff know in advance that time off to deal with family matters will be needed, this is not covered under the Emergency Leave, and staff should discuss with their manager the options of using annual leave entitlement or Parental Leave, if appropriate.

Applying for leave

Employees who need to be absent must tell their manager as soon as practicable and inform them of the reason for the absence and estimate the length of time away from work. Managers must record the leave via their Trent People Manager access.  If you wish to take a half day you will need to book a full day on trent, but add in 'notes' that you only wish to take a half day and also email humanresources@exeter.ac.uk so that we can amend this for you. The manager may request more information if it is needed and/or ask the employee to provide evidence of their reason for taking the time off. This leave must be agreed with the manager.

 


[1] For simplicity we have referred to days but to mirror other leave it will be converted to hours

A member of staff may be granted a reasonable period of paid time off work to deal with a genuine urgent unforeseen domestic emergency which is not covered by any of the other types of leave (see table at the back for the breakdown). Domestic Emergency leave applies to all employees, regardless of length of service. This leave must be agreed with your manager.

What might be considered a domestic emergency?

This leave is to deal with the practical and immediate issues of the emergency, examples could include

  • Domestic burglary
  • Vehicle theft
  • Vehicle accident
  • Emergency repairs to home or services arising from or to avoid flood or fire
  • Other similar circumstances
  • Marital/common law/civil partnership breakdown
  • Unexpected dismissal of partner
  • Repossession of house
  • Pet emergency e.g. accident or unforeseen vet treatment, road traffic collision.

It does not include issues such as boiler or car services, MOT or regular planned vet treatments.

The number of days’ leave[1] which may be approved will depend on the circumstances. There is no statutory right to paid leave to deal with domestic emergencies, and it is anticipated that any period of paid leave will be limited to a maximum of 1 working day in any 12 month period which commences on the first day leave is taken. A full day’s leave may not always be necessary, but we would expect the minimum that is taken is a half day. Some staff may be able to work at home and or manage the time off through flexible working arrangements.

In exceptional circumstances, domestic emergency leave may be extended by some annual leave, parental leave or unpaid leave following the process for each and to ensure consistency agreement with the relevant HRA.

Applying for domestic emergency leave

Employees who need to be absent must tell their manager as soon as practicable and inform them of the reason for the absence and estimate the length of time away from work. Managers must record the leave via their Trent People Manager access. The manager may request more information if it is needed and/or ask the employee to provide evidence of their reason for taking the time off. This leave must be agreed with your manager.



[1]For simplicity we have referred to days but to mirror other leave it will be converted to hours