The EAT decided that the case should
be sent back to the Employment Tribunal for rehearing taking into
account the EAT's findings. It is unlikely that this particular case
will be appealed further.
This case has laid down some important
guidance for employers when considering whether an employee should be
allowed to exercise the right to time off for dependants. In addition,
it gives some useful advice on factors which should be taken into
account when considering what is a "reasonable" amount of
time off work. As regards this latter question, employers should
always take account of the employee's individual circumstances and
consider such factors as the nature of the incident, the closeness of
the relationship between the employee and the dependant as well as the
extent to which anyone else is prepared to help out. Disruption or
inconvenience to an employer's business are irrelevant factors.
Crucially, the EAT held that an employee is not entitled to unlimited
amounts of time off work.
Interested employers are advised to
read the EAT's guidance contained in the judgement. This includes
seven points made by way of general comment and also four questions
which should be asked to determine whether the dismissal of an
employee for taking such time off work is automatically unfair. The
case can be accessed on the Greenwoods
website. Note that there is also useful general guidance on the DTI
If you would like clarification on
this issue or need advice from a member of the Employment and Employee
Benefits Team regarding the impact on your business, please contact me
by email or telephone on 01733 887703.
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This update is for information
purposes only and does not intend to represent legal advice. Given
that employment situations have their own particular facts and issues,
you should seek legal advice before relying on the contents of this