Human Resources

Leave for family emergencies

In cases of illness within the family or an unexpected domestic crisis or emergency, employees may request to take a reasonable amount of time off without pay.

For the purposes of the above entitlement an unexpected domestic crisis or emergency will include:

  • where the employee has to provide assistance on an occasion when a dependant gives birth, falls ill or is injured or assaulted;

  • where the employee has to make arrangements for the provision of care for a dependant who is ill or injured;

  • where there is an unexpected disruption or termination of arrangements already in place for the care of a dependant;

  • to deal with an incident which involves a child of the employee and which occurs unexpectedly whilst the child is at school.

In addition to the employee’s spouse, child or parent, a dependant of the employee can be a person who lives in the same household as the employee (other than as his/her employee, tenant, lodger or boarder) or can be any person who reasonably relies on the employee to make such arrangements on his/her behalf.

Approval for a period of absence due to an illness or for an unexpected domestic crisis or emergency will only be given where the situation requires the employee to be absent from work.  Birkbeck is entitled to request information to show that the employee is not taking on an unreasonable burden of care in comparison to other family members.  Any cases of serious and/or terminal illness will be dealt with under bereavement and compassionate leave, on an individual basis, and with the utmost sympathy.

The employee concerned must notify his/her manager of the situation at the earliest opportunity and inform them of the reason for the absence as soon as is reasonably practicable.  Where practicable, the request for parental or family leave in the appendix should be used to apply for time off.  Where, due to urgent circumstances, this is not possible until after the employee has returned to work, employees should still follow the absence reporting requirements and tell their manager, as soon as is reasonably possible, how long they expect to be absent.

Advice on entitlements and eligibility can be sought by the manager from the Human Resources team.

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The HR team is based on the first floor of Egmont House
Postal address: Human Resources, Birkbeck, University of London, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HX