- the personnel or HR department
- your line manager or a colleague
- a staff handbook or intranet
- your union representative
- a welfare or occupational health adviser.
If you are unsure about what leave you should take, talk to your manager, HR department or union representative. You could also seek external advice.
All employers must offer a period of holiday leave to people on their payroll. It may be possible to buy extra leave or to take extended unpaid leave. The amount of leave will depend on your employer and may be at the discretion of your manager.
Some employers offer career breaks as an optional benefit. If you decide to take a career break, try to keep up to date with developments at work while you are away as this will help you adapt more quickly when you return to work.
Compassionate and/or special leave
As an employee you have the right to unpaid time off to look after dependants. Your employer may also offer enhanced leave, which may be paid or unpaid.
Taking sick leave to care for someone is not advisable and may lead to disciplinary action. However, some employers may recommend using sick leave if you become highly stressed due to your caring role.
You may be able to ask for some flexibility around the times you start and finish your day. Some organisations allow employees to ‘bank’ extra hours worked, which can be taken off later.
There are a number of ways you can work more flexibly:
- working compressed hours, such as four long days instead of five in a week
- annualised hours, such as shorter hours in the winter and longer ones in the summer
- agreeing more regular shift patterns
- working from home.
Part-time or variable hours
You could reduce your hours permanently or for a shorter period of time. Talk to your manager or HR department first, as a permanent change might have an impact on your pay, pension and other benefits.