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You have the right to take reasonable time off as dependants’ leave to deal with an emergency involving your child if he or she is ill and you need time to make arrangements for their care. If you need to take time off to look after them beyond the initial emergency, you will need to take parental leave. Both dependants’ leave and parental leave are unpaid unless otherwise specified in your contract or staff handbook.  

If your employer is refusing you time off for this purpose, you should seek advice from your trade union rep or (if there is no recognised union in your workplace) your local Citizens Advice or Law Centre. You may be able to refer the matter to an employment tribunal, but there are strict time limits for making such claims.  

The first step before bringing any tribunal claim, is to complete an Acas Early Conciliation Notification Form and submit it to Acas. This is the first step in a process called 'Acas Early Conciliation'. This first step is compulsory. If you do not take it, you will not be able to bring your claim in the employment tribunal.  

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.
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