POLICY IN RELATION TO SPECIAL LEAVE

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1 POLICY IN RELATION TO SPECIAL LEAVE DOCUMENT CONTROL: Version: 9 Ratified by: HR&OD Policy and Planning Group Date ratified: 6 June 2013 Name of originator/author: Director of Workforce and Organisational Development Name of responsible committee/individual: HR&OD Policy and Planning Group Rosie Johnson, Director of Workforce & Organisational Development Date issued: 1 July 2013 Review date: June 2016 Target Audience All Trust employees

2 SECTION PAGE NO 1. INTRODUCTION 3 2. PURPOSE 3 3. SCOPE 3 4. RESPONSIBILITIES, ACCOUNTABILITIES AND DUTIES Lead Director Head of Department Line Managers Human Resources Individual Employees 4 5. PROCEDURE / IMPLEMENTATION Applying for Leave PARENTAL LEAVE Entitlements Procedural Arrangements Parental leave immediately after birth/adoption Applications for parental leave at other times Managerial Discretion CARER LEAVE Entitlements Procedural Arrangements BEREAVEMENT LEAVE Entitlements Procedural Arrangements APPEAL 8 6. TRAINING IMPLICATIONS 9 7. MONITORING ARRANGEMENTS 9 8. EQUALITY IMPACT ASSESMENT SCREENING LINKS TO ANY ASSOCIATED DOCUMENTS REFERENCES APPENDICES 11 Appendix A Application for Special Leave 12 2

3 1. INTRODUCTION The aim of this policy is to facilitate time off with pay and also unpaid provisions, where appropriate for staff requesting parental, carer or bereavement leave. 2. PURPOSE The purpose of these arrangements are to provide staff with appropriate leave facilities which will enable them to balance work commitments and domestic, personal and family responsibilities outside of work, in a manner consistent with good employment practice. Leave granted under these arrangements is intended to assist in those situations where the granting of a short period of leave (or longer term in the case of parental leave requests) will help to resolve the employee s difficulties. It is not intended to resolve recurrent difficulties for which other arrangements may be possible following discussion between the employee and his or her line manager. 3. SCOPE These arrangements apply to all staff with the appropriate criteria and will embrace the following circumstances in which leave may be sought: Parental Leave Carer Leave Bereavement Leave 4. RESPONSIBILITIES, ACCOUNTABILITIES AND DUTIES 4.1 Lead Director The Director of Workforce and Organisational Development has responsibility for the implementation of this policy and coordination of an appropriate communication strategy together with ensuring that appropriate monitoring arrangements are in place. 4.2 Head of Department In relation to cases of urgent and unforeseen need, it will be the responsibility of whoever is the senior person on duty at the time of the request to grant initial authorisation for the member of staff to be either released from duty or informed that they need not attend for that particular shift/duty. It is the responsibility of the Head of Department to ensure that this policy is being applied fairly and equitably to all staff within their respective area. 4.3 Line Managers The responsibility for authorising leave under this policy will rest with the line manager. Requests made under this policy should be considered by the line manager on an individual basis taking in account the full circumstances. 3

4 Managers have a duty to ensure that they apply these leave arrangements fairly and equitably to all staff and ensure that all requests for special leave are followed up using appendix A. If a Line Manager is proposing to authorise leave which is outside of this policy framework, then this must be discussed in advance with the Assistant Director or a manager of equivalent status to an Assistant Director. Where the senior person on duty giving such permission is not the line manager, it is important that the member of staff be advised that the staff member will need to contact the line manager at the first available opportunity to discuss the situation. Alternatively, the senior person on duty should indicate that he or she will contact the member of staff after having discussed the situation with the appropriate Manager / Director. The purpose of this dialogue taking place is to ensure that: a) The Line Manager to confirm their decision in relation to the conversation the staff member had with the most senior person on duty and the nature of the leave to be taken. b) the Manager is aware of the full circumstances and thereby able to advise the member of staff on any further leave which may be granted. c) the employee is clear about the arrangements which have been approved and therefore is not burdened by the additional worry of how the absence will be handled either at the time or on his or her return, and d) where appropriate, the Manager has the opportunity to advise the member of staff of any further avenues of support which are available to him / her. The purpose of a dialogue taking place with the line manager is to ensure that: The line manager is aware of the full circumstances and thereby able to advise the member of staff on any further leave which may be granted. The employee is clear about the arrangements which have been approved and therefore is not burdened by the additional worry of how the absence will be handled either at the time or on his or her return, and Where appropriate, the line manager should discuss the potential longer term impact and what arrangements are available to support the employee, such as flexible working, a temporary reduction in hours and career break. The line manager should also discuss with the employee additional support which is available through Occupational Health and the Employee Assistant Programme 4.4 Human Resources It is the responsibility of the Human Resources Department to support and advise managers in the application of this procedure, ensuring consistency is applied. 4

5 4.5 Individual Employees It is the responsibility of each member of staff to; - Co-operate fully with the requirements of this policy. - Communicate fully regarding the circumstances for the leave request. - Communicate appropriately during any authorised leave. - Take every step to minimise the need for emergency leave. 5. PROCEDURE / IMPLEMENTATION 5.1 Applying for Leave Applications for leave under this policy should be submitted to the employee s Line Manager in the first instance by submitting the attached application form (Appendix A). Where submission of the appropriate form is not possible due to the urgency of the situation a request for leave can be made over the telephone with the line manager, followed by the submission of the application form. Application forms should be completed regardless of whether the leave is approved or rejected. If the application for leave under this policy is rejected, the reasons for rejection should be explained to the employee in full and documented on the completed application form PARENTAL LEAVE The purpose of parental leave is to provide leave for parents to spend time with their children. This provision applies to an employee (irrespective of the contract type held i.e. fixed term) with 1 years service with the Trust who has a child who is either: Under 14 years of age, or Under 18 years of age, where the child is adopted or disabled. 5.3 Entitlements An eligible employee will be entitled to unpaid time off as described below. He or she will be entitled to 18 weeks in total for each child. The maximum 18 weeks can only be taken: In adoption cases, parental leave must be taken by the fifth anniversary of the adoption or by the child s 18 th birthday. In the case of a child with a disability, up until the child s 18th birthday. (For the purposes of parental leave, a disabled child is one for whom disability living allowance has been awarded) In all other cases, up until the child s 14th birthday 5

6 Parental leave must be taken in blocks or multiples of one week, with the exception of parents of disabled children who can take leave in blocks or multiples of one day. If both parents are employed by the Trust, each parent will be entitled to a maximum of 18 weeks each per child i.e. 36 weeks in total for one child 5.4 Procedural Arrangements In all cases, the employee will need to provide the following evidence, as applicable, to confirm that they are a parent or person who is legally responsible for the child The child s birth certificate Papers confirming the child s adoption The award of disability living allowance for the child Parental leave immediately after birth/adoption The employee needs to give, in writing to their manager, 21 days notice before the beginning of the expected week of childbirth, using appendix A Application Form. In the case of adoption, the employee needs to give 21 days notice of the expected week of placement. In rare cases where this is not possible, an adoptive parent should give the notice as soon as is reasonably practicable Applications for parental leave at other times Employees should make a request for parental leave in writing to their manager and should provide a minimum of four weeks notice. If an employee wants to take more than two weeks at a time he or she must provide double the amount of time of the leave e.g. eight weeks notice for four weeks leave. An employee must give notice of the exact day on which parental leave will start, except for fathers who want to take leave straight after the baby is born or prospective adoptive parents who want to take leave straight after the child is placed with them for adoption. The employer must inform the employee in writing within 7 days whether he or she can take the leave or whether it must be postponed. Refer to Appendix A for supporting documentation. 5.5 Managerial Discretion The Trust may postpone parental leave for up to six months where the business would be particularly disrupted if the leave were taken at the time requested. Any postponement of leave will be discussed with the employee and will be confirmed in writing no later than 7 working days after the employee s notice to take leave and will state the reason and set out the new dates of parental leave. When an employee applies to take parental leave immediately after the birth or adoption of a child, then the employer cannot postpone the leave CARER LEAVE 6

7 The aim of carer leave is to provide a compassionate response to immediate needs. The needs covered will be those arising from the many and varied domestic situations which, from time to time, occur, e.g. illness of a child, close relative or dependant, breakdown of normal carer arrangements Entitlements In such situations it is recognised that the problem will normally be short term and therefore the Line Manager will have discretion to authorise up to 2 days paid leave. However, there is an expectation that both the Line Manager and the member of staff will have considered other options which are available in order to address the immediate difficulty, i.e. change of shift; variation to start and finish time; use of flexi-time arrangements; home-working, use of accrued annual leave etc. The purpose of the paid leave facility is therefore to assist when other managerial options have been unable to help the member of staff overcome their immediate difficulty. It should be noted that where two members of staff have joint responsibility for dependents only one may take carer leave at any one time. The Manager can refuse to grant paid leave where in his or her judgement a pattern of leave requests has emerged which suggests that there is an ongoing problem for which an alternative course of action would be more appropriate rather than the use of this leave facility which is intended to help the member of staff cope with urgent or unforeseen circumstances. No more than 4 days paid carers leave can be authorised in any given financial year Procedural Arrangements As detailed within 5.1 of this policy - Refer to Appendix A for supporting documentation. 5.7 BEREAVEMENT LEAVE The purpose of bereavement leave is to enable managers to respond to colleagues with empathy where the member of staff has been affected by bereavement Entitlements Consideration should be given to the following when deciding on the appropriate amount of leave to be approved; the closeness of the relationship. It should be recognised that many people have a special relationship with individuals outside their immediate family, e.g. they may have been brought up by someone other than their parents. responsibility for making the funeral arrangements. distance to be travelled. whether the deceased lived with the member of staff. 7

8 the effect of the bereavement on the member of staff, given that some people can deal with these situations better than others. The Line Manager has the discretion to grant up to 3 compassionate days leave initially where the member of staff has suffered the loss of a close relative for whom he or she is responsible for making the funeral arrangements. This period of leave may be extended up to a maximum of 5 working days (pro rata for staff working less than a five day week) depending on the circumstances. For any arrangement which are proposed outside of this policy framework, the Line Manager must discuss this in advance with the Assistant Director or a manager of equivalent status to an Assistant Director, prior to the employee receiving confirmation of the decision. The Line Manager will also have discretion to determine how this leave should be allocated since the continuing impact of the bereavement of a close relative may well influence the Line Manager s decision on when such leave should be granted in the best interests of the member of staff. It is recognised that many staff who are distressed may be given a medical certificate by their General Practitioner in which case this absence will be considered under the appropriate sick leave provisions. Leave purely for attendance at a funeral may be granted for a day or shorter time, i.e. an hour or two to give sufficient time for the member of staff to attend the funeral Procedural Arrangements As detailed within 5.1 of this policy - Refer to Appendix A for supporting documentation APPEAL Where an employee is dissatisfied with the outcome of their application for leave under this policy the matter should be raised in the first instance with their Line Manager. Where the employee remains dissatisfied following this discussion, the matter should be raised through the Trust s Grievance and Dispute Procedure. At this stage the employee should be advised of their right to seek further advice from their Trade Union/Professional Organisation representative. 8

9 6. TRAINING IMPLICATIONS (Training Needs Analysis) There are no specific training needs in relation to this policy, but the following staff will need to be familiar with its contents: Line Managers Assistant Directors Directors Human Resource Representatives Staff Side Representatives As a Trust policy, all staff need to be aware of the key points that the policy covers. Staff can be made aware through: The agreed Trust communication channels Management meetings 7. MONITORING ARRANGEMENTS Area for Monitoring How Who by Reported to Frequency Number of Grievances submitted as a result of this policy and procedure and the data will be monitored in accordance with the protected characteristics Monitor the employee relations monitoring output sheets produced by HR Human Resources Advisors Head of Workforce through review of data Once yearly Update of Special Leave granted/declined Sample audit of personal files Human Resources HR&OD Once yearly Staff Survey Trust results 9

10 8. EQUALITY IMPACT ASSESSMENT SCREENING The completed Equality Impact Assessment for this Policy has been published on the Equality and Diversity webpage of the RDaSH website click here 8.1 Privacy, Dignity and Respect The NHS Constitution states that all patients should feel that their privacy and dignity are respected while they are in hospital. High Quality Care for All (2008), Lord Darzi s review of the NHS, identifies the need to organise care around the individual, not just clinically but in terms of dignity and respect. Indicate how this will be met No issues have been identified in relation to this policy. As a consequence the Trust is required to articulate its intent to deliver care with privacy and dignity that treats all service users with respect. Therefore, all procedural documents will be considered, if relevant, to reflect the requirement to treat everyone with privacy, dignity and respect, (when appropriate this should also include how same sex accommodation is provided). 8.2 Mental Capacity Act Central to any aspect of care delivered to adults and young people aged 16 years or over will be the consideration of the individuals capacity to participate in the decision making process. Consequently, no intervention should be carried out without either the individuals informed consent, or the powers included in a legal framework, or by order of the Court All individuals involved in the implementation of this policy should do so in accordance with the Guiding Principles of the Mental Capacity Act (Section 1) Therefore, the Trust is required to make sure that all staff working with individuals who use our service are familiar with the provisions within the Mental Capacity Act. For this reason all procedural documents will be considered, if relevant to reflect the provisions of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 to ensure that the interests of an individual whose capacity is in question can continue to make as many decisions for themselves as possible. 10

11 9. LINKS TO OTHER PROCEDURAL DOCUMENTS Trust Grievance and Dispute Procedure Employment Policies Procedure for Exercising the Right to Request Flexible Working Arrangements Employment Policies Policy in Relation to the Trusts Disciplinary Procedure Employment Polices Policy Relating to the Management of Sickness Absence Employment Policies A Policy Framework for the Positive Management of Pressure/Stress in the Workplace Employment Policies 10. REFERENCES Maternity and Parental Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2001 Parental Leave (EU Directive) Regulations 2013 Agenda for Change Terms and Conditions of Service Handbook Amendment Number 28 02/ APPENDICES 11

12 Appendix A APPLICATION FOR SPECIAL LEAVE Applicants must complete Section A and either Section B, C, or D, Section A (to be completed by the Applicant) Name: Place of Work: Post Held:... Section B Bereavement Leave Manager to complete I have authorized XXX days bereavement leave Section C Carer Leave Manager to complete I have authorized XXX days carers leave in connection with XX Other Options which have been considered are Dates From To Form 1 of 2 I wish to apply for Bereavement / Carer / Parental Leave (delete as appropriate) I understand that if I provide any false information in support of my request for paid/unpaid leave in accordance with the Policy in relation to Special Leave I may be subject to disciplinary proceedings, which may lead to disciplinary action, including dismissal. I, therefore, confirm that the leave requested below is in accordance with the reason stated. Section D Parental Leave Employee to complete I wish to apply for unpaid parental leave (maximum of 18 weeks) Dates From To Time off work Required 12

13 Signed Date Section E To be completed by the Line Manager Previous Allocations Bereavement Leave - days in 12 months Carers Leave - days in 12 months Parental Leave - days in total I confirm that Special Leave request under Section B, C or D has been approved / rejected (delete as appropriate). If rejected the reasons for this are:- Alternative arrangements agreed Signed by Manager Date Copies: Payroll (Parental Leave Requests) Personal File (All Requests). Form 2 of 2 13

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