Coronation Street characters Fiz and Tyrone are supporting their daughter, Hope, through cancer on the TV show.
Hope was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma, a rare cancer that develops from the nerve cells and mainly affects young children. She has just undergone her first chemotherapy treatment and Corrie fans up and down the country are hoping for the best despite the cancer being described as “highly aggressive.“
Any parent with a sick son or daughter will tell you that their child’s health is the most important thing.
In the show, Fiz works as a sewing machinist at Underworld and has already spoken to her boss at the factory, Aidan Connor, to arrange time off during Hope’s cancer treatment. Aidan has agreed to let Fiz have the time off unpaid. Meanwhile, Tyrone, who is a self-employed mechanic, can make his own decision on pay and time off with his business partner Kevin.
What Legal Rights do You Have if You Need to Take Time Off Work to Care For Your Children?
You’re entitled to a ‘reasonable amount’ of paid time off to deal with an emergency where you need to care for your child.
It doesn’t count as an emergency if you knew about the situation beforehand – for example if Hope’s cancer treatment is booked in advance – and so for things like hospital appointments you might have to take unpaid parental leave instead. Alternatively, you might be able to use your annual leave for this purpose.
It is best to talk to your employer as soon as you can about any time off you need to look after your child or to sort out care arrangements for them. Of course if it is an emergency, you might have to leave work immediately and not have time to notify your boss straight away. You should, however, try to get in touch as soon as it is possible to do so. This doesn’t need to be done in writing and you do not need to provide any written proof – in most cases a text or call would suffice.
There is no set amount of time you can take as it will vary according to the situation. Also, there’s no limit to the number of times you can take off to deal with an emergency for your child. Your employer cannot select you for redundancy, dismiss you or treat you unfairly for taking time off to care for your children.
Your employer does not have to offer you paid leave. If you need to get paid while away from work caring for a loved one, it is sometimes possible to take that time off as annual leave. Some employers might allow you some paid parental leave or paid compassionate leave so it is worth checking your employment contract.
Juliette Franklin is an Employment Solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in Cardiff.
The Employment Solicitors at Slater and Gordon Lawyers are experienced in managing employment problems through mediation, alternative dispute procedures and independently, often avoiding the need for cases to go to an Employment Tribunal. To find out how we can help you, call freephone 0800 916 9060 or contact us online.