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Using annual leave to care for relative

Jill Rosemary

| 126 Posts

Chartered Member

12 Oct, 2017 12:45

Have been asked to look into this so really just a bit of advice would be appreciated.  We have an employee who is currently taking annual leave (one day a week - Monday) to care for her mother who is I believe is terminally ill.  The employee in question has a significant journey to make to her mothers home and as this employee is now using what would be her weekend and an additional day to care for her parent, her manager is concerned with her well being, as in he feels she is not getting adequate rest.  His query was is there anything under H&S regulations that us as employers should be aware of given her personal situation to ensure her welfare is being taken care of in terms of asking her to take a block of leave rather than one day per week.  I am imagining if she is using all of her leave entitlement perhaps she cannot financially afford to avail of carers leave etc..

  • Keith

    | 10473 Posts

    Chartered Fellow

    12 Oct, 2017 12:52

    If your manager is that concerned maybe you might like to consider an additional paid day off on the occasional Tuesday to allow her to recover at home. Or working at home on Fridays/Tuesdays etc. Or allowing her the odd extra early finish (paid) during the week?

    There is no real H&S legislation that prevents someone doing something at the weekend and on their annual leave.

    Asking her to take a block of leave sounds like a reasonably crass thing to do when she is coping with the terminal illness of her mother which may go on for a number of weeks / months so she is trying to balance the leave and looking after her mother.

    This may have nothing at all to do with finances and the cost of carers and everything to do with someone wanting to spend time with their dying mum.

    I think your Manager ought to be a little more sympathetic and a little less looking for a H&S loop hole (the way I read it)
  • Jill Rosemary

    | 126 Posts

    Chartered Member

    12 Oct, 2017 12:57

    In reply to Keith:

    Hi Keith, it may be the way I have written this. I do believe her manager is genuinely concerned for her, he was afraid that we were not being responsible for her welfare in that he felt she must be exhausted doing what she is doing and was afraid he had not ticked every box so to speak in looking after her. Your suggestions re working from home Tuesdays might be an option, as she works at a different location to myself will need to look into how this might work.
  • Keith

    | 10473 Posts

    Chartered Fellow

    12 Oct, 2017 13:14

    In reply to Jill Rosemary:

    The other point always worth considering (and depends on your OSP) is that most GPs would almost certainly sign her off if she asked them for a week or two
  • Jill Rosemary

    | 126 Posts

    Chartered Member

    12 Oct, 2017 13:49

    In reply to Keith:

    Thanks Keith, your perspective has been a great help!
  • David

    | 20699 Posts

    Chartered Member

    12 Oct, 2017 17:00

    In reply to Jill Rosemary:

    If I was a line manager who knew that one of my staff of any was having to use up most of their annual leave to care for a terminally-ill close relative, the very obvious thing would be for me to be recommending that at least a reasonable proportion of this gets redesignated as paid extra / compassionate leave. Even if just a small proportion, it will be better than nothing.
  • We have a lady in a similar situation who works from home on the days that her mum has chemo and then the following day. She has been doing this since July and takes it as approved other leave not from her annual allowance. The employee isn't actually working from home but it is marked as this.
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