Special Leave Policy

North Lanarkshire Leisure Ltd
Human Resources
19 September 2012

1. Introduction

The Trust recognises that, on occasion, employees may require special leave to undertake obligations or attend events outside of their working life. The use of annual leave or flexible leave may not be appropriate for these obligations or events.

This policy recognises those events which the Trust considers suitable for authorisation of special leave.

2. Legislation

This policy was created taking into account and incorporating the following legislation:-

(a) Juries Act 1974, and
(b) Employment Relations Act 1999.

3. Principles

The Trust recognises the requirement for fairness and consistency when considering requests for special leave. All applications for special leave will be examined on an individual basis, having due regard to the trust policies on Equality of Opportunity in Employment and Harassment.

In authorising special leave, managers should consider:-

  • all the circumstances surrounding the request,
  • the need to ensure that services are minimally disrupted, and
  • consistency of application of this policy throughout the trust.

If clarification is required on any area of the policy, managers should contact the Human Resources team.

4. Scope

This policy is available to all employees of the Trust, regardless of length of service or contractual status.

5. Bereavement

It is expected that managers will take all circumstances into account when granting paid leave for bereavement, such as the closeness of the relationship, both physical and emotional, and whether the employee is responsible for making the funeral arrangements.

Bereavement leave for part time/job share employees will be authorised as the equivalent of working days.

If necessary employees can take annual and/or, if eligible, flexi leave. This would be in addition to bereavement leave and subject to approval from his/her manager and the exigencies of service.

The following guidelines should be adhered to but bearing in mind the conditions detailed above:-

Close Relationships

  • 1 day to attend the funeral
  • 2 compassionate days, and
  • Additional leave up to 2 days to conduct business in connection with the funeral if undertaking the responsibility, i.e. up to a maximum of 5 days per occasion.

However, the amount of leave granted will depend on the individual circumstances of each case, such as the closeness of the relationship.

Close relationships would generally include, but not exclusively limited to the employee’s:

  • Parent(s)
  • Sibling(s)
  • Child/ren
  • Spouse or partner
  • Spouse or partner’s parent(s) or child/ren

These relationships would also include step relationships.

Grandparents or grandchildren (including those of a spouse or partner)

  • 1 day to attend the funeral
  • 1 compassionate day
  • Leave of up to 2 days to conduct business in connection with the funeral if undertaking the responsibility, i.e. up to a maximum of 4 days per occasion.

Other relatives of the Employee or their Spouse or partner

Paid leave to attend the funeral up to a maximum of one day per occasion.

Friend or Colleague

Paid leave to attend the funeral up to a maximum of one half day per occasion.

The above allowances for each category of leave for bereavement are considered to be inclusive of any travel time necessary to attend the funeral.

6. Time Off for Dependants

A dependant is a partner, child or parent of the employee, or someone who lives with the employee as part of his/her family. For example, this could be an elderly aunt or grandparent who lives in the household. It does not include tenants or boarders living in the family home, or someone who live in the household as an employee, for example, a live-in housekeeper.

In cases of illness, injury or where care arrangements break down, a dependant may also be someone who reasonably relies on the employee to make arrangements for the provision of care. However, normally a dependant does not include a friend or neighbour.

It is accepted that in certain limited circumstances an employee may be unable to discuss the requirement for special leave in advance with his/her manager. In such circumstances, the employee must make contact with the appropriate manager as soon as possible and not later than the commencement of core time on the day the leave is required, or within 2 hours of normal starting time.

Failure by the employee to make contact with his/her manager could result in the employee taking unauthorised leave of absence which may lead to disciplinary action.

In exceptional circumstances, consideration may be given to extending the period of leave contained within 6.1 to 6.4, which will be subject to consultation with the Chief Executive and the Human Resources Manager. An extension of leave, if agreed, may be paid or unpaid leave and this will be determined by the merits of the case.

An employee is eligible to time off during working hours to take necessary action for the circumstances listed below.

6.1 Illness, Injury or Assault of a Dependant

Paid leave will be granted on up to 3 occasions in each leave year, limited to a maximum of 1 day on each occasion, to provide assistance or make arrangements for the provision of care for a dependant who is ill, falls ill, or is injured/assaulted.

Illness, in this context, includes mental illness or injury.

An employee may use annual and/or, if eligible, flexi leave, in addition to each of these 3 occasions, subject to authorisation by his/her manager and the exigencies of the service.

6.2 The Unexpected Disruption or Termination of Arrangements for the Care of a Dependant

Paid leave will be granted on up to 3 occasions in each leave year, limited to a maximum of 1 day on each occasion, to make alternative arrangements for the care of a dependant whose normal care arrangements are unexpectedly and unavoidably disrupted, i.e. illness of the usual carer.

An employee may use annual and/or, if eligible, flexi leave, in addition to each of these 3 occasions, subject to authorisation by his/her manager and the exigencies of the service.

6.3 Children at School/Nursery

Paid leave will be granted on up to 2 occasions in each leave year, limited to a maximum of 1 day on each occasion, to make arrangements to deal with an incident which involves a child of the employee and which occurs unexpectedly in a period during which is an educational establishment which the child attends has responsibility for that child.

An employee may use annual and/or, if eligible, flexi leave, in addition to each of these 2 occasions, subject to authorisation by his/her manager and the exigencies of the service.

6.4 Attending Hospital with a Dependant

Paid leave will be granted on up to 2 occasions in each leave year, limited to a maximum of 1 day on each occasion, to attend a pre-arranged medical examination or hospital appointment with a dependant, in circumstances where the employee’s presence is not necessary but the dependant may need to have the employee at the medical examination or hospital appointment for moral support or other reasons.

An employee may use annual and/or, if eligible, flexi leave, in addition to each of these 2 occasions, subject to authorisation by his/her manager and the exigencies of the service.

6.5 Carer’s Leave

There may be other occasions when carer’s leave for a dependent is needed and it is not appropriate to use annual leave. The circumstances may vary, but may include –

  • Time off to care for a dependent recovering from surgery/hospital stay
  • Time off while a dependent is in hospital
  • Time off to care for a dependent who is terminally ill
  • Time off to provide respite care

Carer’s leave, either paid or unpaid, will not be available until the applicant has 26 weeks continuous service.

Up to a maximum of six months (26 weeks) carer’s leave in any one year (January to December) may be granted e.g. for the care of a terminally ill dependant.

The six months carer’s leave available will be paid on the following basis, subject to the service criteria noted above –

  • The first 13 weeks on full pay
  • Followed by 13 weeks half pay, if required

The maximum amount of leave may be broken down into smaller blocks, as long as the cumulative total for the leave year does not exceed six months (26 weeks).

Special leave granted under Sections 6.1 – 6.4 (Time off for Dependants) will not be an additional special leave entitlement if the employee has applied for/is on carer’s leave.

All carer’s leave will be counted as continuous service for contractual purposes.

Carer’s leave Application Forms are available from the Human Resources Section. Once completed this should be submitted to the HR Manager at least 4 weeks prior to the proposed date of the commencement of leave. However, if this is not feasible, reasonable notice should be provided.

The circumstances of each application will be considered by the HR Manager, in consultation with the individual’s line manager.

7. Maternity Support Leave and Statutory Leave

7.1 Maternity Support Leave

Maternity Support Leave for 5 days paid leave will be granted to the child’s father or the partner or nominated carer of an expectant mother at or around the time of birth. A nominated carer is the person nominated by the mother to assist in the care of the child and to provide support to the mother at or around the time of birth.

Maternity Support Leave may be taken in one period of 5 days or broken down into smaller periods, whichever is most suitable for the carer and the mother and subject to the exigencies of the service.

7.2 Statutory Paternity Leave

In addition to Maternity Support Leave, a father, husband, or partner of an expectant mother, who has 26 weeks continuous service with the Trust at the start of the 14th week before the expected week of childbirth, is entitled to one week’s statutory paternity leave. This period of leave must be taken as consecutive days and cannot be broken into smaller periods of leave.

Statutory paternity leave can be taken either from the date of the child’s birth or from another date after the child’s birth. The leave can start on any day of the week, but must be taken within 56 days of the actual birth of the child. If the child is born early, the leave must be taken within the period form the actual date of birth up to 56 days after the expected week of childbirth.

The introduction of statutory leave in effect affords an additional week’s leave, for fathers, husbands or partners but with payment based on Statutory Paternity Pay rates, if eligible.

If an employee wishes to take statutory paternity leave, he/she must notify the line manager, in writing, using Form PS18, of the intention to take paternity leave, by 14th week before the expected week of childbirth. If an employee wishes to alter the date on which leave will commence, he/she must give 28 days notice of this alteration, in writing, where this is reasonably practicable, to his/her line manager.

8. Leave for Medical Purposes

8.1 Routine Medical Treatment

An employee requiring routine optical, dental of other preventative medical treatment, who is either on the flexi system or outwith the flexi system, will be expected wherever possible, to arrange appointments outwith normal working hours. If this is not possible, paid leave will be granted, subject to appointments being arranged as close as possible to the start or end of the working day.

8.2 GP Appointments

An employee requiring to consult his/her GP, who is either on the flexi system or outwith the flexi system, will be expected wherever possible, to arrange appointments outwith normal working hours. If this is not possible, paid leave will be granted, subject to appointments being arranged as close as possible to the start or end of the working day.

8.3 Hospital Appointments

An employee who has been referred to a hospital for examination/treatment should, where feasible, try to arrange appointments outwith normal working hours. If this is not possible, then paid leave will be granted for attendance at hospital. Paid leave will be up to a maximum of contracted daily hours.

A hospital appointment card or a letter from the hospital will require to be produced, to be checked by the employee’s manager prior to authorisation of leave.

8.4 Elective Surgery

Employees who are absent as a result of undergoing elective surgery, for example reconstructive surgery, which is supported by medical certificate or authorised self certificate will be covered by the Sickness Absence Scheme.

9. Leave for Fertility Treatment

An employee who is required, for medical purposes, to accompany his/her partner to a hospital appointment will, on the production of written confirmation showing the necessity of their attendance, be accorded for themselves (refer to Section 8.3 Hospital Appointments).

Leave may also be granted in terms of Section 6.4 of this policy.

10. Participation in Sporting Events

If an employee is selected to participate in a sporting event at national or international level as a representative of his/her country, up to 5 days paid leave in each year will be granted. Additional leave required over and above this amount can be taken an annual and/or, if eligible, flexi leave, subject to the exigencies of the service.

This provision includes team managers or coaches required to attend the event. It also includes time off for an employee who is the parent/guardian of a child under the age of 16, and who is required to accompany the child while participating in the sporting event.

This includes disabled sporting events and will also apply to employees who are required to attend the event as a carer or person accompanying a disabled participant. There is no age limit if required to accompany a disabled participant.

11. Jury Service

If an employee is called to service on a jury, there is a requirement for an employee to attend by virtue of the Juries Act 1974. The employee must notify his/her manager of the summons.

An employee will be granted leave with pay to attend unless exemption is secured. The employee will claim the allowance payable under the Jurors Allowances Regulations and this amount will be deducted from pay.

12. Service as a Witness

If an employee is cited to attend court as a witness, leave of absence will be granted as follows:-

  • In the case of an employee attending as a witness on behalf of the Trust, leave with pay will be granted, on the understanding that witness fees received (excluding travel and subsistence expenses) are paid to the Trust.
  • In the case of an employee called as a Crown Court witness, cited by the Procurator Fiscal or equivalent, leave with pay will be granted, on the understanding that loss of earnings received by the employee from the Court, will be paid back to the Trust
  • In all other cases where the employee is called to attend court as a witness, leave without pay will be granted. Employees can claim from the person citing them, the relevant amount in respect of loss or earnings.

Employment Tribunal

If an employee is required to attend an Employment Tribunal relating to his/her employment with the Trust, leave with pay will be granted.

Attendance at Court in Course of Duties

If an employee is required to attend court as a witness arising from his/her employment and on behalf of the Trust, then paid leave will be granted.

13. Election Duties

Subject to the exigencies of the service, and authorisation by the manager, paid leave will be granted to allow employees to undertake official duties at elections or referenda of North Lanarkshire Council.

14. Local Authority, Parliamentary, Scottish Parliamentary and European Election Agents

Subject to the exigencies of the service, unpaid leave for a period not exceeding 10 days will be granted at the time of the election to employees undertaking the duties of an Election Agent for a Local Authority/Parliamentary/Scottish Parliamentary/European candidate.

15. Local Authority, Parliamentary, Scottish Parliamentary and European Candidates

Subject to the exigencies of the service, unpaid leave for a period not exceeding 10 days will be granted to employees who stand for election to another Local Authority/as a Parliamentary candidate/as a Scottish Parliamentary candidate/as a European candidate.

16. Service in Non-Regular Forces

An employee who is a member of the non-regular forces and who attends annual training camp for a period of not less than one week, will be granted leave with pay for the period of actual attendance at the training camp, up to a maximum of 15 days and subject to deduction of service pay and allowances received.

17. Community Emergency Services

An employee who is a member of a community emergency service, for example retained fire fighters, will be granted paid leave to attend emergencies during work hours.

18. Holidays or Festivals of Religious or Ethnic Groups

An employee will be granted two days paid leave in any one leave year, subject to exigencies of the service. A list of recognised holidays and religious festivals is available, for reference purposes, from your Human Resources section.

19. Interviews

Paid leave will be granted to employees called to attend a job interview for a post with North Lanarkshire Leisure. The employee will be required to produce an interview letter prior to authorisation of leave.

If an employee is called to attend a job interview for a post with another Scottish Leisure Trust, paid leave to a minimum of one day on each occasion will be granted. The employee will be required to produce an interview letter prior to authorisation of leave.

If an employee is called to attend a job interview which is not with this trust of another Scottish Local Authority, the employee will be required to use annual and/or, if eligible, flexi leave, for this purpose.

20. Training Connected with a Course of Study

Please refer to the Company Training and Development Policy for detailed guidance.

21. Voluntary Service Overseas

An employee applying for voluntary service overseas and who requests unpaid leave of absence for up to 2 years, will be required to submit an application in writing to his/her Manager.

The Board of Directors will consider each application on merit following a report by the Chief Executive.

Normally the post will be filled on a temporary basis for a period of up to 2 years. However, the post may be of nature, such as a senior post or a specialist post, that it can not be filled on a temporary basis. If, following discussions with the Human Resources Manager, the Manager can not fill the post on a temporary basis, VSO leave will not normally be granted.

22. Other Special Leave

There may be occasions when special leave is appropriate but may not be covered by the Special Leave provisions. The Chief Executive has the discretion to authorise special leave, either paid or unpaid, up to a maximum of 10 days in total, for situations not already covered by this policy.

Applications for special leave which exceeds 10 days, either paid or unpaid, and which are not covered in the above provisions, must be refereed to the Board of Directors for consideration on their individual merits.

It is requested that, prior to the submission of the above report to the Board of Directors, Managers consult with the Human Resources Manager to ensure that no unintentional precedent is established.

23. Process for Applying for Special Leave

Please note that the process for applying for special leave will vary dependant upon the type of special leave requested. Details of how to apply are contained within this policy or from your line manager.

Note 1 –
Please note that leave granted in accordance with the terms of this policy, will be considered as continuous service with this Trust.

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NL Leisure is a registered Scottish charity, regulated by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR). The purpose of NL Leisure is to deliver sport, recreational, health improving and social welfare services to the community of North Lanarkshire. NL Leisure is a not for profit company (NPDO) which is limited by guarantee.

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