Authorised Leave Policy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AUTHORISED LEAVE POLICY

Please note that the processes associated with applying for authorised leave will change as the Council implements HR Self Service.

 

1       Introduction

 

Purpose

1.1       The purpose of the authorised leave policy is to provide guidance on:-

  • the types of leave which may be authorised
  • the amounts of leave which may be approved
  • the correct procedures to follow when requesting the leave.

 

    • This policy does not address maternity, adoption or surrogacy leave, details of which are available on the Intranet or from Human Resources.
    • This policy does not address the Management of Absence Policy or the flexi-time scheme which are available on the Intranet or from Human Resources.

Scope

 

    • This policy applies to all employees of the Council, except teachers and other staff employed in schools under the control of Governing Bodies. 
    • For the purpose of this policy, employees are as defined in section 230 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 or any substituting or amending legislation.

 

Content

1.6       There are a number of different ways in which an employee may take authorised leave of absence:

  • Annual Leave and Public Holidays
  • Bereavement Leave
  • Emergency Care for Dependants
  • Special Leave
  • Longer-Term Unpaid Leave
  • Election Duty
  • Employee Representation
  • External Secondments
  • Jury Service
  • Medical, Dental, Optical and Hospital Appointments
  • Parental Leave
  • Paternity Leave
  • Post Entry Training
  • Public Duties
  • Territorial Army Compulsory Training
  • Time off to Look for Work in a Redundancy Situation
  • Trade Union Duties

 

Requesting Leave

1.7       An employee should apply to take a period of annual leave by completing and submitting their on line request (or annual leave card where still used) to their line manager.  Please note this does not apply to staff such as term time workers whose leave entitlement is fixed at particular times of the year and who should refer to their employment contract and/or manager for details.

1.8       An employee should apply to take any other period of authorised leave covered in this policy by submitting an online request (or completing the form “Application to take Authorised Leave” where there is no online facility, available on the Council’s Intranet or from line managers).

1.9       Unauthorised absence from work will not be paid and may be considered under the Council’s Disciplinary Policy.

 

2       Annual Leave

Personal Leave Year

2.1       The Council operates a personal annual leave year arrangement commencing on the first day of employment at Hounslow and every subsequent year on that anniversary date.  There are some variations where the leave year will be identified in the employee’s contract.  For example, term time workers have a leave year based on the academic year (ie 1 September to 31 August).

2.2       Annual leave and long service leave are applied to part time employees and job sharers pro rata to the hours they work. 

2.3       Staff employed under the conditions of service for the National Joint Council for Local Government Services will receive the following annual leave (bank/public holidays are in addition to the entitlements detailed below):

 

Grade

 

Up to 5 years’ service

 

5 years’ service and over

 

Scale 1a – to 4

 

21

 

27

 

Scale 5 to HMG 1

24

30

 

2.4       Senior management employed under the conditions of service for Joint National Council for Chief Officers will receive the following annual leave entitlements.  

Grade

Up to 5 years’ service

5 years’ service and over

CO4 and CO3

26

31

CO2 and CO1

28

33

 

2.5       Leave for staff working under other terms and conditions of service is set out below:

Staff Group / Conditions of Service

Up to 5 years’ service

5 years’ service and over

Craft

24

31

Soulbury

24

30

Youth Worker

30

35

FE Management
Points 1-10

25

30

FE Management
Points 11 and over

30

35

 

2.6       All requests for annual leave must be submitted online (or on an employee’s annual leave card where still used) and agreed prior to the leave being taken.

2.7       Leave will be granted subject to the needs of the service and can only be taken with the prior agreement of an appropriate line manager. 

2.8       If for any reason an employee expects to be late in returning from an agreed period of leave, they must notify their line manager as soon as possible.  Failure to do so, and circumstances where the reason for the late return is not considered reasonable by the line manager, may be regarded as unauthorised absence and considered under the Council’s Disciplinary Policy.

2.9       Employees who fall sick during annual leave shall be regarded as being on sick leave from the date of a doctor’s certificate.  Annual leave will be reinstated if a doctor’s certificate is produced and the employee has followed the correct procedure for reporting sickness.

2.10    Where an employee is sick whilst overseas they should follow the procedure for reporting sickness as stated in the Management of Absence Policy.

2.11    Leave requests in excess of 3 continuous weeks require the approval of the employee’s Chief Officer.  Regard will be had to an individual’s personal circumstances, when considering requests of this nature, however this will always need to be balanced against the needs of the service.

2.12    It is the employee’s responsibility to take their leave in the year it is due. Requests to carry over or bring forward leave require the approval of the Head of Service. This must not exceed 5 days.

2.13    The annual leave entitlement of employees leaving or joining an authority is proportionate to their completed service during the leave year.

2.14    For the purposes of annual leave only, one break in local Government service of up to 12 months will not break continuity.

Leave Entitlements for Employees Working Term Time Only

 

2.15    Leave entitlements for staff employed on a term time working pattern is calculated to include an element in respect of annual leave and bank / public holidays. Accordingly, there is no further entitlement to take annual leave within the normal working period of employment.

 

2.16    On the termination of employment, an employee working term time only will be paid their accrued holiday entitlement.  This will be at the rate of 1.5 days for each 5 days of the school term less an amount in respect of non-term time days since the previous 1st September or, if the employee was not in service on that date, the date of the employee’s appointment.

 

Christmas Closure

2.17    A number of Council services are closed during the Christmas period.  The closure commences on Christmas Day.  Services re-open on 2nd January or on the first working day thereafter.  Days that are not bank/public holidays during this period are granted in addition to the entitlements detailed in 2.3, 2.4 and 2.5 above.

2.18    However, many services continue to be delivered and staff required to work during the Christmas closure, on any of the days other than bank / public holidays, will receive their normal pay rate for all time worked on that day.  Also, at a later stage, they will be granted the equivalent amount of time off with pay for all time worked on that day. Such time off should be taken before the end of the employee’s personal leave year or within 3 months of the days worked, whichever is the later.

 

Bank/Public Holidays

2.20    Part-time employees are entitled to paid leave in respect of Bank/Public Holidays which fall on their normal working days.

    • For information regarding Bank / Public Holidays for Job Sharers, please refer to the Council’s Flexible Working Policy.

 

Status of Leave

    • Apart from the situations set out in paragraphs 2.1 – 2.21 above, leave granted under the other sections of this Policy will not affect an employee’s annual leave entitlement.

3       Bereavement Leave

 

3.1       Employees are entitled to request:-

  • up to 2 working weeks’ paid leave in connection with the death of a spouse, civil partner, partner, parent or child.

 

  • up to 3 working days’ paid leave in connection with the death of a sister, brother, grandparent or grandchild but this may be extended to 1 working week at the discretion of the Head of Service.
  • up to 3 working days’ paid leave in connection with the death of a spouse’s, civil partner’s or partner’s immediate relative, for example, parent, brother or sister or where the employee is the sole next of kin of the deceased.

 

4       Emergency Dependancy Care Leave

    • An employee who has taken leave in order to provide emergency care for a dependant may apply retrospectively for emergency dependancy care leave. 
    • The employee’s line manager must be informed of any such absence at the earliest opportunity.
    • Paid leave of up to one day will usually be granted, although any awards of emergency dependancy care leave in the preceding 12 months will be taken into account in determining whether it is appropriate to grant the request. 
    • Where an employee is applying for more than one day’s emergency dependancy care leave in any 12 month period, they will be expected to match any request with their own leave (eg annual / flexi leave or TOIL). 
    • Examples of emergency dependancy care leave are as follows:-

 

  • To care for a sick dependant or to provide assistance when a dependant is injured
  • To make arrangements for the provision of care for an ill or injured dependant, for example, to accompany a sick dependant to hospital or to the doctor’s in an emergency situation

 

  • Because of the unexpected disruption or termination of care arrangements of a dependant
  • To deal with the death of a dependant

 

  • To deal with an incident that involves their child and occurs unexpectedly whilst the dependant is at an educational establishment.

4.5       A dependant is defined as:-

  • A spouse, civil partner or partner

 

  • A parent or child
  • A person to whom the employee is sole next of kin

 

  • A person to whom the employee stands in loco parentis
  • Any other person who would reasonably rely on the employee for assistance if they fall ill, are injured or who would rely on the employee to make arrangements for the provision of care in the event of illness or injury.

 

5       Other Special Leave

    • Requests for special leave in the event of the serious illness of a relative or for exceptional reasons not otherwise covered in this Policy must be submitted to the line manager using the on-line facility (or using the ‘Application to take Authorised Leave’ form on the Council’s intranet, for staff who do not have access to the online system).
    • The line manager, in consultation with their Divisional Head or Chief Officer will consider whether or not it is appropriate to grant special leave taking into account the full circumstances including any previous awards of special leave in the last 12 months and whether the employee has sufficient flexi-time or annual leave to cover the absence.  If leave is granted it may be paid or unpaid and the employee may be required to match any paid time off with their own leave. In any event no more than 10 days’ paid leave will be granted in any 12 month period.

 

6       Longer-Term Unpaid Leave

6.1       Employees may wish to apply for longer periods of unpaid leave for a variety of reasons (e.g. career break, sabbatical, personal development, provision of support / longer-term care, course of study). 

6.2       Such leave requests are likely to be of between 3 and 12 months’ duration.

6.3       There is no entitlement to longer-term unpaid leave. An employee must make any request to their Chief Officer, who will consider each case on its merits.  Requests will be considered entirely at the Council’s discretion and are unlikely to be granted where this would have a detrimental effect on the needs of the service.

    • Employees do not receive or accrue any annual leave during a period of longer-term unpaid leave. 
    • A period of longer-term unpaid leave is likely to affect an employee’s pension arrangements – see paragraph 11.18 for more information.

 

7       Election Duty

7.1       The Council encourages employees to take an active role in elections in Hounslow.  Time off for election duty in Hounslow should not unreasonably be refused by the employee’s line manager. Employees who take up the role of Presiding Officer or Poll Clerk at elections will receive full paid leave for the day in addition to any fee they may receive for this work. Staff employed on an overnight count, immediately following the close of poll, will be allowed one half of a day’s leave the following morning.

 

8       Employee Representation

8.1       An employee may request a reasonable amount of paid time off work to accompany a work colleague at a disciplinary, grievance or appeal meeting.   Approval must be sought from their line manager, prior to taking time off for this purpose.

8.2       Time off for trade union representatives to represent employees is addressed at section 17.


9       Jury Service

9.1       The Council is legally obliged to release an employee from work to attend jury service. Individuals may apply to the court to be excused from jury service on the grounds that this absence would be likely to cause “substantial injury to their employer’s undertaking.” Compelling evidence is normally required for the employee to be excused.

9.2       Where an employee is called for jury service they should contact their line manager to request time off work. An employee must provide a copy of the court summons and must submit a claim to the court for loss of earnings.

9.3       An employee will continue to be paid whilst on jury service at their normal contractual rate of pay, subject to the deduction of any monies received from the court in respect of loss of earnings.

9.4       If, on any day, the employee’s services are not required at court they must attend work.

9.5       Similarly, an employee who is discharged from the court during any part of any day is expected to return to work wherever practicable and should contact their line manager to confirm. 

 

10     Medical, Dental, Optical and Hospital Appointments

10.1    The Council recognises that employees will, from time to time, need to attend medical, dental, optical and other similar appointments. Wherever possible an employee should arrange these appointments in their own time, for example, outside of core hours, as flexi-time, as time off in lieu, by varying their hours or shift pattern by agreement with their line manager or making appointments during periods of annual leave.

10.2    However, the Council accepts that it is not always possible to arrange a medical or similar appointment outside working hours and, therefore, reasonable time off work to attend such appointments can be requested.  The Council will try and be flexible in enabling employees to attend appointments but it is expected that employees will make up the time or take annual leave / flexi-leave / TOIL as appropriate. 

10.3    Employees who are pregnant have a statutory right to reasonable time off work with pay for antenatal appointments.  Paid time off in such circumstances will be granted although an employee’s line manager may request sight of her appointment card.

10.4    Employees are entitled to request paid time off work to attend:-

  • an eye sight test which has been arranged under the policy for display screen equipment
  • appointments for work-related vaccinations that are an essential health and safety requirement
  • “Well Man” or “Well Woman” screening

In these circumstances, an employee must obtain approval from their line manager in advance of the appointment.  The employee’s line manager has the right to ask them to re-schedule an appointment if the timing would cause disruption to the department’s business.  The line manager may ask the employee to produce an appointment card.

 

11     Parental Leave

11.1    Parental leave is a statutory entitlement to take up to a maximum of 13 weeks’ unpaid leave (or up to a maximum of 18 weeks’ unpaid leave where a child has been awarded a disability living allowance) for childcare reasons.

11.2    Parental leave taken with a previous employer forms part of the 13 weeks’ parental leave allowance.

 

Eligibility

11.3    To be eligible to take parental leave an employee must:-

    • Be the natural, adoptive, foster, step-parent or grandparent with a significant parenting role of a child aged under 8 (or aged under 18 if the child is awarded a disability living allowance)

 

    • Be taking leave to care for or to spend some time with their child
    • Have at least one year’s continuous service. 

 

11.4    Provided the above eligibility criteria are met, an employee can take up to 13 weeks’ parental leave up until the child’s 8th birthday (or up until the child’s 18th birthday where the child is awarded a disability living allowance) or, where a child is adopted, for up to eight years following placement or up to the child’s 18th birthday whichever is soonest.

11.5    An employee can take parental leave for each of their children, for example, if an employee has two children under the age of 8 (or aged under 18 if the child is awarded a disability living allowance) they may take 13 weeks’ unpaid parental leave in respect of each child.

11.6    Parental leave may be taken as either a single block of up to 13 (or 18) weeks or in patterns which provide a part-time or reduced hours working arrangement for a period of time equivalent to taking 13 (or 18) weeks’ leave as a single block.

11.7    Parental leave cannot be taken as a single day, unless the child has been awarded a disability living allowance.

11.8    An employee must make a written request to take parental leave, giving notice of at least 21 days before they wish to take the leave, stating how long they expect the leave to last.

    • An employee may be required to produce documentary evidence of parenthood or adoption.
    • Parental leave will not be unreasonably withheld from employees who

have not been able to provide the required notice.

11.11  The employee’s line manager will agree to the employee’s request to     take parental leave wherever possible.  However, where they feel that the employee’s absence from work will cause substantial disruption they may postpone the leave for up to 3 months.

11.12  Before postponing a requested period of parental leave a manager must first discuss the situation with the employee, agree with them an alternative date for taking the leave and confirm the arrangements in writing within 7 days of the date of the employee’s initial request.

11.13  An employee taking a period of postponed parental leave can take the leave in full even if it falls outside the timescale for taking the leave.

11.14  Parental leave cannot be postponed where an employee is taking the leave immediately following maternity leave, adoption leave, surrogacy adoption leave or paternity leave.

11.15  Where an employee takes a period of parental leave immediately following their maternity, adoption, or surrogacy adoption leave they will retain their occupational maternity/adoption/surrogacy adoption pay provided they return to work from their parental leave for a period of at least 12 weeks.

11.16  Employees who fall sick during a period of parental leave shall be regarded as being on sick leave if they follow the sickness absence notification procedure. They will be entitled to pay under the Council’s sickness scheme and this period will not count towards their parental leave entitlement provided that a doctor’s certificate is produced and the employee has followed the correct procedure for reporting sickness.

11.17  The employment contract continues during an employee’s parental leave period and annual leave continues to be accrued. 

11.18  Where an employee takes parental leave for 30 days or less pension contributions continue to be made.  As a result, there is no break in pensionable service and the employee’s pension remains unaffected. Where an employee takes parental leave for more than 30 continuous days, pension contributions will be affected.  The individual has the right to repay the contributions, relating to the missing period of service, when they return to work. This can be done by making a payment to the pension fund, either in a lump sum or by monthly instalments. 

An employee who is intending to take a period of parental leave should consult Capita Hartshead, the Council’s pension provider, for advice about the possible effects on their pension via email at  hounslow.pensions@capita.co.uk or telephone 01737 366 032 / 035 or visit their website at www.hounslow.gov.uk/pension

11.19  An employee who takes 4 or fewer weeks’ parental leave is entitled to return to the job in which they were employed before that period of leave began and on the same terms and conditions of employment.

11.20  Where an employee takes more than 4 weeks’ parental leave they are entitled to return to their original job or, if this is not reasonably practicable, to a suitable job on terms and conditions of employment at least as favourable as those of the original job.

 

12     Paternity Leave

12.1    Paternity leave is partially a statutory entitlement and partially a local agreement that allows an eligible employee to take up to two weeks’ paid leave to care for a new baby or adoptive child and to support the child’s mother. 

To be eligible to take paternity leave an employee must:-

  • Either be a new father or the spouse, partner or civil partner (male or female) of the baby’s mother or  be the partner of an individual who is adopting a child, or be a member of a couple adopting jointly where the other member has elected to take adoption leave; and
  • Have responsibility for the care and upbringing of the child; and

 

  • Have worked continuously in local government for at least 26 weeks either by the end of the 15th week before their baby is  expected to be born or have worked continuously in local government for at least 26 weeks by the end of the week in which they are notified by their adoption agency that they have been matched with a child; and
  • Have provided formal notification of the date on which they intend to take paternity leave and provided a copy of the mother’s MAT B1 by the end of the 15th week before their baby is expected to be born (or as soon as is reasonably practicable) or, in the case of adoption, have provided a copy of the matching certificate 28 days before they intend to take the leave (or as soon as is reasonably practicable).

 

12.2    An employee may change the date on which they intend to start their
paternity leave provided they inform their line manager of the amended start date at least 28 days before the original date (or as soon as is reasonably practicable).

 

Paternity Pay

12.3    Paternity pay is paid for each week of paternity leave taken.  For the first week, occupational paternity pay is paid.  This is an amount equal to the employee’s normal salary and is paid instead of normal salary.  For the second week of paternity leave statutory paternity pay is paid.  Further details on statutory paternity payments can be found on the ‘Direct Gov’ website at www.directgov.uk .

 

Paternity Leave

 12.4    Paternity leave must be taken in a block of one or two consecutive weeks.  These weeks cannot be split and the leave cannot be taken as odd days.

12.5    Paternity leave can start on any day of the week.

12.6    An employee can choose to start their paternity leave from the day the child is born or placed with them or later, provided the leave is taken within 56 days of the child’s birth or adoption.

12.7    Only one period of paternity leave can be taken irrespective of whether more than one child is born as the result of the same pregnancy or is adopted at the same time.

12.8    An employee’s contract of employment continues throughout their paternity leave and pension contributions continue to be deducted from paternity payments.

12.9    An employee continues to accrue annual leave throughout their paternity leave.

12.10  With the agreement of their line manager an employee can take a period of annual leave or parental leave (providing they are eligible to do so) immediately before or after taking paternity leave.

 

13     Post Entry Training

13.1    Requests for leave in connection with post entry training are set out in the Professional Qualification Training Policy. 

 

14     Public Duties

 14.1    Where an employee holds a public office or public position they will be granted paid time off work, in accordance with the table below, to perform the duties associated with that position:

 

i.

Acting as a Justice of the Peace

Up to 12 attendances per year*

ii.

Membership of a statutory tribunal, eg Employment Tribunal

Up to 12 attendances per year*

iii.

Membership of a local authority, eg a Councillor

Up to 12 attendances per year*

iv.

A relevant education authority, eg a school governor

Up to 4 days per year

14.2    * An attendance means leave of up to 1 day.

14.3    If additional attendances are required the employee may, with their line manager’s agreement, be able to take the time out of their annual leave entitlement or take unpaid leave for this purpose.

14.4    Where an allowance can be claimed for loss of earnings the employee must claim the allowance and pay this to the Council.

14.5    Staff must declare membership of such bodies on the Staff Declaration of Interests form, available on the Council’s Intranet or from Human Resources.

    • An employee is entitled to request a reasonable amount of unpaid time off for other public duties, as set out in s50 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 or any substituting or amending legislation.  An employee wishing to take this time should make an application to their Chief Officer.
    • An employee, who has been granted paid time off for carrying out a Public Duty, is expected to return to work (wherever practicable) if their attendance has not been required for a whole day.  Employees should contact their line manager to confirm appropriate arrangements.
    • The Council will consider requests for additional time from an employee who is elected as Mayor for a local authority.

 

15     Territorial Army and Volunteer Reserve Forces Compulsory Training

 

15.1    The Council will consider any request for leave related to the employee’s membership of the Territorial Army or Volunteer Reserve Forces.  During any agreed period of training leave the employee will be paid at their full contractual salary rate for up to a maximum of 5 days per year.  If a period of leave is agreed for longer than this period, the remainder will be unpaid or the employee may, at the line manager’s discretion, take annual leave.

 

16     Time Off To Look For Work In Redundancy Situations

16.1    An employee, who has been issued with notice of dismissal for redundancy, will be granted reasonable time off work with pay during their notice period in order to look for new employment or to make arrangements for training for future employment.  All requests for time off must be agreed with the employee’s line manager.

 

17     Trade Union Representation 

17.1    Representatives of trade unions recognised by the Council are entitled to request to take a reasonable amount of paid time off for duties concerned with relevant negotiations and/or training.

17.2    Representatives must provide their line manager with as much notice as is reasonably possible and provide full details of why they are requesting the leave.

For employees of the Council who are appointed directly by school governing bodies, there is a separate Special Leave Policy for teachers which also covers other school staff whose contracts do not allow annual leave or flexible hours of working (e.g. term time only employees who have fixed hours due to classroom commitments).  For other school staff who do not have fixed annualised working hours, the general provisions set out in this Authorised Leave Policy are applicable, subject to the approval of the school headteacher and governing body. 

 

Your Unison Staff Side representatives and the Employer (LBH) have agreed the following Authorised Leave Policy. It will be implemented from 1st June 2009.

If you wish to discuss this document with you Unison workplace Steward click here for a list of stewards by departments Stewards

For staff not covered by this policy click here

To go straight to a heading click on that heading

Authorised leave of absence......... Requesting Leave........Personal Leave Year....... Leave Entitlements

Christmas Closure... Bank/Public Holidays........Bereavment Leave ....Emergency Dependancy Care Leave

Other Special Leave........ Longer term unpaid Leave...... Election Duty............ Employee Representation

Jury Service....Medical, Dental, Optical and Hospital Appointments.... Parental Leave...

Paternity Leave .........Post Entry Training ......Public Duties .....Territorial Army and Volunteer Reserve

Forces Compulsory Training
.....................Time Off To Look For Work In Redundancy Situations

Trade Union Representation