Hi there, 

I have come across a little problem with our current policies and procedures relating to time off; whether it is time to go to doctor's appointments, the dentist, funerals or similar, we have always been quite lenient. We have usually let it be up to the line manager's discretion, as we've felt it's been difficult to have one set rule for all as all cases are different. For example; we have a rule that no one can have 3 weeks off consecutively, but as we have several foreign staff who see their families only once a year, we grant them this time off. Usually, with time off for appointments, we say staff have to make this time up; but some staff work longer hours than required as part of their job, so we don't require them to work extra on top of what they already do. The manager is making this decision.

Recently, we have had a member of staff taking a whole day off for a hospital appointment, and we've requested that she makes up the time she's been away. She feels she is being treated differently to other staff, cause she hasn't got the opportunity to make up the time. (or she doesn't have the time to make up the time) What do you do in situations like this? When is it ok to have time off for doctor's appointments? When it's an hour? Two? A whole day?? I think that's a bit excessive. We don't really want people to take of their holidays when they have doctors appointments either.

I would appreciate some comments or your experiences around this issue; what does your company do? We have grown from being a small to a middle sized business quite quickly, so we want to be a personable business, but also fair to all.

Any ideas are appreciated !



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  • Hi Toril

    Sorry to raise this one again from a few months back but we are currently having a similar problem in terms of compassionate leave with one individual member of staff.  We normally say its up to the discretion of the manager but this person just keeps asking for more & more time off.  He's onto his third week off & is showing no signs of wanting or committing to a return.  It is a distressing time for him (his mother is in hospital & it is unclear what is wrong with her) but at the same time we do have a business to run & the manager is short-staffed in the team anyway. 

    We're finding it hard to strike a balance as he's threatening to go off work sick if we don't allow him the time off. Yet other people haven't been granted this length of time off.

    We have the rule of 5 days for bereavement leave & again each case is taken on it's own merit.

    For hospital/doctors appointments we have a rule of 2hrs then any longer needs to be taken as flexi or holiday leave.

    I understand what you mean about wanting to be fair yet personable.  It's a juggling act!


    • Hi Toril

      I work at a College and it is written into the staff handbook that we allow up to 5 days for compassionate leave - could be longer with a doctors note.   Time off for appointments is allowed within reason ie a couple of hours.  After this it could be unpaid leave.  Each case is looked at on it's own merit.

      Hope this helps as well.


  • Hi Toril

    We ask staff to make time up for dentist, doctors or any other appointments that they have and would assume that these are a couple of hours out the office. We do for hospital appointments if they can show a letter to prove its a day appointment let them take it as paid and it comes under our Absence Policy as a sick day. If they want to take holiday to cover the day I would be inclined to let them, we have done this a number of times and staff appreciate that they won't lose money so are happy to use holiday.

    As for compassionate leave again we have certain things set in place from 1 day for grandparents up to 5 days for parents etc but this also has movement for discretion by managers and myself as HR.

    Hope this helps


    • Thank you Rachel! That's very useful.



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