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Help & advice

Am I entitled to take time off work to care for my family member after a brain injury?

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If your family member has sustained a brain injury, it is common for you to need to take some time off work. This could be to visit them in hospital, to make other arrangements and to come to terms with what has happened.

If you are an employee, by law you are entitled to take time off work to deal with emergencies involving your husband or wife, partner, children, grandchildren, parents or someone dependent on you for care (such as an elderly relative or neighbour).

You should tell your employer as soon as possible if you require time off and indicate how much time you may need to be away from work. If you have to leave work suddenly due to an emergency, you do not have to let your employer know before you go, but you should make them aware as soon as possible.

How much time am I allowed off work?

The amount of time you are allowed off work will depend on the circumstances, but it should be a reasonable amount of time to deal with the emergency. You may also be able to take time off work to make arrangements for longer-term care for your family member.

Your employer may arrange a meeting with you to discuss your time off if this is affecting your ability to do your job.

Will I get paid for having time off work?

You may be paid if you have to have time off in an emergency. However, this is dependant on your employer, and they do not have to pay you for this time off. You should check your contract, company handbook or intranet to see if there are any policies in place for these situations.

What if my employer is unhappy I have taken time off?

Your employer cannot treat you unfairly for taking time off for a family member in an emergency. They cannot refuse you training or promotion because of this period of absence. They also cannot dismiss you or select you for redundancy on these grounds and must allow you reasonable time to deal with the situation.

If your employer does dismiss you for taking time off, you should seek advice. You can get this from your local Citizens Advice Bureau. You can find your nearest centre on their website or call their Adviceline on 03444 111 444.

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