Having a sick child can be extremely stressful for working mums and dads. Even if it’s just a cough or cold, negotiating time off to care for them can be tricky.
All employees have a right to reasonable time off if their child, or someone else who depends on them, falls ill.
This is called dependants’ leave and can be used to deal with major or minor emergencies. There’s no set time limit, but you can only take as much time as you need to deal with the immediate problem.
Unfortunately, you don’t have a legal right to be paid for this time off. But lots of good employers will voluntarily offer a certain amount of paid “carers’ leave”.
If your employer refuses to grant you leave to care for your child or dependent, you can take action.
But your first step should always be to seek advice from your union rep or another qualified advisor.
Are you a rep? You can find more practical advice on a range of workplace issues in our support for reps section