DO EMPLOYEES HAVE A RIGHT TO TIME OFF TO ATTEND DOCTOR OR DENTIST APPOINTMENTS?
There is no general statutory right for employees to take time off work to attend medical and other health-related appointments, nor to be paid their normal salary if time off is granted. These are entirely matters for the Company’s discretion. I would recommend you have a policy advising your employees of whether such time off would be paid, unpaid or whether you would require them to make the time up when they have such appointments.
It is not unreasonable to request that employees make doctor and dentist appointments outside of normal working hours insofar as this is possible, or at least to make sure that appointments are made at either the beginning or the end of the working day so as to minimise disruption. Time off for such appointments should be authorised in advance by the Company and you are within your right to ask the employee to reschedule an appointment, where the timing of it would cause too much disruption.
You would however need to exercise care when the time off work is being requested by an employee to attend a medical appointment on account of a condition that amounts to a disability under the Equality Act 2010. Allowing time off for necessary medical appointments is likely to fall within your duty to make reasonable adjustments under the legislation.
In addition, where an employee is pregnant, she has a specific statutory right under the Employments Right Act 1996 to take a reasonable amount of time off work with pay to attend antenatal appointments made on the advice of a doctor or midwife.
Fiona Haworth. You can contact Fiona on firstname.lastname@example.org
If you feel that you need guidance or advice on this matter, please call Practical HR on 01702 216573 or email Fiona on the above.