Time off work

There are a number of rights that mean the person you work for has to give you a certain amount of time off.

It's important to remember that some of these rights only apply to people with a certain employment status (like an employee, or a worker).

If you are not sure what this means, make sure you read the general information on employment rights before you go any further.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

To help people who need to take time off or self-isolate due to coronavirus (COVID-19), the government have announced changes to the law on sick pay and some welfare benefits. 

If you are affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) and are worried about taking time off work, check the coronavirus guidance on the Money Advice Service website for the latest information on what you’re entitled to. 
 
The government also has general advice and information about coronavirus on their website, including about claiming benefits if you aren’t entitled to sick pay.

Time off and pay when you are too sick to work

Statutory Sick Pay

If you have to take more than a few days off work because you are ill or sick, the person you work for must pay you a certain amount of money each week. 

This is called Statutory Sick Pay.

They only have to pay you for a certain amount of time, but if you have a contract you may get paid more or for longer.

Statutory Sick Pay is for employees and workers only.

You can check to see if you're entitled to sick pay on the Citizens Advice website.

I think I may have a problem with sick leave or pay

If you think you have a problem with the amount of sick pay you're getting, there are lots of different ways to try and deal with the problem yourself. 

Citizens Advice has some good advice on their website about what you can do. 

You can also check to see if you are getting the right sick pay using this tool on the MyPay London website.

I need more help

If you are struggling to deal with the problem yourself, there are lots of places where you can get more help.

Before you contact anyone for support, it’s really important to have as much information as possible. Things you might need include: 

  • a description of the problem you are having
  • a copy of your employment contract (if you have one) 
  • a copy of any recent pay slips (if you have one)
  • a copy of any letters or emails between you and the person you work for that relate to the problem you are having
  • details of any conversations about the problem you have had with the person you work for  

Where can I get specialist advice?

Over the phone or via email

  • if you want more general information about employment rights you can telephone the ACAS helpline on 0300 123 1100. It's open from 8am-6pm, Monday to Friday, and can give you help in any language. If you have a hearing or speech impairment you can use their Text Relay service on 18001 0300 123 1100. They may also be able to help you to sort out the problem with the person you work for. This is called mediation
  • if you are disabled and want advice about your employment rights you can contact the Disability Law Service (DLS) on 0207 791 9800 or email [email protected]
  • Working Families are a national charity that provide free advice for parents and carers. You can visit their website for more information, email their free helpline [email protected] (they aim to respond within five working days) or call  0300 012 0312 (currently open Monday 3pm - 5pm, Tuesday and Thursday 12pm - 2pm)
  • if you are a member of a Trade Union you can contact them directly for advice

Face-to-face advice
 

We've created a map of advice centres in London to help you find out where to get help with sick pay. We've also provided their details in a list. Lots of them also give advice over the telephone or by email. 
 
It’s important to remember that some places may only be able to help you:

  • with certain things like general advice or filling in forms
  • if you live or work close to them (eg you may have to live in the same borough)
  • if you come from certain countries or backgrounds (eg you come from Eastern or Central Europe)
  • if you don’t earn very much or are struggling with money
  • if you have telephoned them first to make an appointment 

Make sure you check these details on our map or list of centres so you find the right place to help you.

Taking time off and holiday pay

Annual Leave or Statutory Leave Entitlement

The person you work for must give you a certain number of days off every year, and they must carry on paying you as normal. 

This is called Annual Leave or Statutory Leave Entitlement (sometimes called Holiday Entitlement).

Statutory Leave Entitlement is for employees and workers.

The government has more detailed information on their website about holiday entitlement and pay.

I think I have a problem with my annual leave or holiday pay

If you think you have a problem with the amount annual leave and holiday pay you're getting, there are lots of different ways to try and deal with the problem yourself. 

Citizens Advice has some good advice on their website about what you can do. 

You can also check to see if you are getting the enough holiday pay using this tool on the MyPay London website.

I need more help

If you are struggling to deal with the problem yourself, there are lots of places where you can get more help.

Before you contact anyone for support, it’s really important to have as much information as possible. Things you might need include: 

  • a description of the problem you are having
  • a copy of your employment contract (if you have one) 
  • a copy of any recent pay slips (if you have one)
  • a copy of any letters or emails between you and the person you work for that relate to the problem you are having
  • details of any conversations about the problem you have had with the person you work for  

Where can I get specialist advice?

Over the phone or via email

  • if you want more general information about employment rights you can telephone the ACAS helpline on 0300 123 1100. It's open from 8am-6pm, Monday to Friday, and can give you help in any language. If you have a hearing or speech impairment you can use their Text Relay service on 18001 0300 123 1100. They may also be able to help you to sort out the problem with the person you work for. This is called mediation
  • if you are disabled and want advice about your employment rights you can contact the Disability Law Service (DLS) on 0207 791 9800 or email [email protected]
  • Working Families are a national charity that provide free advice for parents and carers. You can visit their website for more information, email their free helpline [email protected] (they aim to respond within five working days) or call  0300 012 0312 (currently open Monday 3pm - 5pm, Tuesday and Thursday 12pm - 2pm)
  • if you are a member of a Trade Union you can contact them directly for advice

Face-to-face advice
 

We've created a map of advice centres in London to help you find out where to get help with annual leave or holiday pay. We've also provided their details in a list. Lots of them also give advice over the telephone or by email. 
 
It’s important to remember that some places may only be able to help you:

  • with certain things like general advice or filling in forms
  • if you live or work close to them (eg you may have to live in the same borough)
  • if you come from certain countries or backgrounds (eg you come from Eastern or Central Europe)
  • if you don’t earn very much or are struggling with money
  • if you have telephoned them first to make an appointment 

Make sure you check these details on our map or list of centres so you find the right place to help you.

How much time you can take off in an emergency

Time off for emergencies

The person you work for must give you time off to deal with emergencies involving people who depend on you (like your family or somebody you care for). 

This is called time off for emergencies or time off for dependents.

The person you work for might keep paying you whilst you are off, but they don't have to.

The right to time off for emergencies is for employees only.

The government has more detailed information on their website about time off for emergencies.

I don't think I've been given enough time off to deal with an emergency

If you think you have a problem with taking time off in an emergency, there are lots of different ways to try and deal with the problem yourself. 

Citizens Advice has some good advice on their website about what you can do. 

I need more help

If you are struggling to deal with the problem yourself, there are lots of places where you can get more help.

Before you contact anyone for support, it’s really important to have as much information as possible. Things you might need include: 

  • a description of the problem you are having
  • a copy of your employment contract (if you have one) 
  • a copy of any recent pay slips (if you have one)
  • a copy of any letters or emails between you and the person you work for that relate to the problem you are having
  • details of any conversations about the problem you have had with the person you work for  

Where can I get specialist advice?

Over the phone or via email

  • if you want more general information about employment rights you can telephone the ACAS helpline on 0300 123 1100. It's open from 8am-6pm, Monday to Friday, and can give you help in any language. If you have a hearing or speech impairment you can use their Text Relay service on 18001 0300 123 1100. They may also be able to help you to sort out the problem with the person you work for. This is called mediation
  • if you are disabled and want advice about your employment rights you can contact the Disability Law Service (DLS) on 0207 791 9800 or email [email protected]
  • Working Families are a national charity that provide free advice for parents and carers. You can visit their website for more information, email their free helpline [email protected] (they aim to respond within five working days) or call  0300 012 0312 (currently open Monday 3pm - 5pm, Tuesday and Thursday 12pm - 2pm)
  • if you are a member of a Trade Union you can contact them directly for advice

Face-to-face advice
 

We've created a map of advice centres in London to help you find out where to get help with time off for emergencies. We've also provided their details in a list. Lots of them also give advice over the telephone or by email. 
 
It’s important to remember that some places may only be able to help you:

  • with certain things like general advice or filling in forms
  • if you live or work close to them (eg you may have to live in the same borough)
  • if you come from certain countries or backgrounds (eg you come from Eastern or Central Europe)
  • if you don’t earn very much or are struggling with money
  • if you have telephoned them first to make an appointment 

Make sure you check these details on our map or list of centres so you find the right place to help you.

Unpaid time off if you have children

Unpaid parental leave

If you have children, the person you work for must let you take a certain amount of time off without pay to look after them.

You can get time off for each child up until they turn 18, but there a limits on how much time off you can take off each year.

Unpaid parental leave is for employees only. 

The government has more detailed information on their website about unpaid parental leave. 

I'm having a problem taking unpaid parental leave

If you think you are having a problem taking unpaid parental leave, there are lots of different ways to try and deal with the problem yourself. 

Citizens Advice has some good advice on their website about what you can do. 

I need more help

If you are struggling to deal with the problem yourself, there are lots of places where you can get more help.

Before you contact anyone for support, it’s really important to have as much information as possible. Things you might need include: 

  • a description of the problem you are having
  • a copy of your employment contract (if you have one) 
  • a copy of any recent pay slips (if you have one)
  • a copy of any letters or emails between you and the person you work for that relate to the problem you are having
  • details of any conversations about the problem you have had with the person you work for  

Where can I get specialist advice?

Over the phone or via email

  • if you want more general information about employment rights you can telephone the ACAS helpline on 0300 123 1100. It's open from 8am-6pm, Monday to Friday, and can give you help in any language. If you have a hearing or speech impairment you can use their Text Relay service on 18001 0300 123 1100. They may also be able to help you to sort out the problem with the person you work for. This is called mediation
  • if you are disabled and want advice about your employment rights you can contact the Disability Law Service (DLS) on 0207 791 9800 or email [email protected]
  • Working Families are a national charity that provide free advice for parents and carers. You can visit their website for more information, email their free helpline [email protected] (they aim to respond within five working days) or call  0300 012 0312 (currently open Monday 3pm - 5pm, Tuesday and Thursday 12pm - 2pm)
  • if you are a member of a Trade Union you can contact them directly for advice

Face-to-face advice
 

We've created a map of advice centres in London to help you find out where to get help with unpaid parental leave. We've also provided their details in a list. Lots of them also give advice over the telephone or by email. 
 
It’s important to remember that some places may only be able to help you:

  • with certain things like general advice or filling in forms
  • if you live or work close to them (eg you may have to live in the same borough)
  • if you come from certain countries or backgrounds (eg you come from Eastern or Central Europe)
  • if you don’t earn very much or are struggling with money
  • if you have telephoned them first to make an appointment 

Make sure you check these details on our map or list of centres so you find the right place to help you.

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