As we all have ever-demanding lives with differing priorities, requests for leave may be mounting up for different reasons. Are you ready to deal with these requests? More importantly, as an employer, do you know your rights to refuse leave?
Key facts for dealing with leave of absence
- It is best practice to have a leave of absence policy which states entitlements for paid or unpaid leave of absence to ensure consistency.
- Using an absence tracking system will allow schools to identify leave of absence days and where these are causing concern for the school.
- Employees should be aware of their responsibility to apply for leave of absence in an agreed timeframe and following an agreed process.
- An employee has a right to request leave of absence (paid or unpaid) NOT to dictate that he/she will be taking the leave of absence.
- As an employer you have a right to review the needs of the school and make an informed decision if you are able to grant or decline the leave request.
- As the employer, it is best practice to monitor and manage all absences though an attendance management policy. It is a common misconception that leave of absences cannot be dealt with in the same way as sickness absence.
- Ultimately, all time away from the employee’s role needs to be monitored and dealt with under the attendance management policy, if this is causing concern for the school.
- If a leave of absence request and appeal is refused due to the needs of the school and the employee failed to attend work for the day on which the leave was requested, you have a right to investigate this, which could potentially result in a disciplinary hearing for a conduct-related issue.
- As an employer, you may need to consider alternatives, for example if a request is for 2 weeks and you cannot allow the full amount of time requested, could you grant a week?
- If an employee is to be paid for the leave of absence, you must consider if this should include any additional payments rather than just basic salary (and/or notify your payroll provider accordingly).
Before authorising or declining requests for leave of absence, it is essential that you have the right policies and procedures in place. You must ensure that all employees and management are aware of entitlements and whether the leave is paid or unpaid.
If you need support with any aspect of managing leave, please speak to one of our team by calling 01924 827869. A member of the team can review your existing arrangements or help you draft a leave of absence policy.