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Can I Take Time Off Work If My Child Is Sick?

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Can I Take Time Off Work If My Child Is Sick?

Jodie Hill
Jodie Hill Thrive law employment lawyer,

By Jodie Hill – Thrive Law

As a parent, when your child is ill or in an emergency it is an extremely worrying time, however, you do have a legal right to have time off work to care for a dependant for a reasonable amount of time. Here we cover, can I take time of work when my child is sick and is this paid leave?

There is no set number of hours you can have off and there is also no limit to those hours. It may depend on the situation and the employer. So best practice would be to approach your employer and discuss this with them as soon as possible.

Will you still get paid?

As above, this varies on the employer- some may pay, others may not. To find out check your Contract of Employment, company handbook and website for any information regarding this.

When is it available?

Emergency situations such as:

  • Illness, injury or assault (can be mental or physical and does not have to be life threatening or need full-time care);
  • A dependant unexpectedly goes into labour;
  • Disruption to care arrangements (e.g. child minder does not turn up); and
  • If child is involved in an incident at school (involved in a fight, suspended or injured). 

When is it not available? And other types of leave:

  • Annual leave- for longer time frames (check your Contract of Employment for your entitlement- statutory entitlement is 28 days including bank holidays)
  • Parental leave- if you already knew about the situation (for example a hospital appointment)
  • Compassionate leave- personal circumstances (e.g. death of family member)

Details of whether this is paid will be in your staff handbook as there is no legal obligation to pay.

Your employer must not:

  • Treat you unfairly for having time off
  • Dismiss you or choose you for redundancy due to time off
  • Refuse you reasonable time off

For more information visit

If you encounter any problems or need further advice visit

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