Friday, 31 January 2020 17:42

Time off for Medical Appointments

Most employers will allow their employees a few hours of paid leave here or there to enable them to keep medical appointments such as a doctor, dentist or physiotherapist. However there is no obligation on the employer’s part to do so. The exception is for pregnant women attending doctor or hospital appointments related to their pregnancy and employers must grant paid leave in these cases.

Employers should remember that they have a duty of care towards their employees, so if a member of staff requires some time off for medical attention or therapy then it should be considered. However the employer is entitled to withhold payment for the time that the employee is not working for them.

Most of the time, occasional absence for a few hours isn’t going to damage a business and it is good for employer/employee relations to allow this time off as paid. More persistent absence however, such as for a long term course of therapy, may require a different approach. Under these circumstances an agreement may be that the time absent is either unpaid or the hours are accumulated and taken as holiday. Another option is to work back those hours at a mutually convenient time or period of time.

Employers are also obliged to allow time off work for employees to deal with issues involving dependants, ie children or elderly relatives. But again, this does not have to be paid leave. Furthermore, it’s only reasonable to allow time off to deal with the actual emergency. Once that it dealt with, if further care or support is required for the dependant, the employee should make alternative arrangements to cover this.

We recommend that employers encourage their staff to arrange medical appointments either at the beginning or at the end of the day to minimize the impact on the normal working day. This approach can be included in the company’s staff handbook so that it is recognised as normal company practice.

For help managing absence, including long term absence or persistent absence, contact us on 01452 331331 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. We’ll also be discussing managing absence at our forthcoming seminar.


Read 1986 times Last modified on Friday, 31 January 2020 17:48


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