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Rules for Taking Time Off Work

There are various ways that employees take time off work, such as for maternity leave or for holidays. In most cases, workers get paid for time spent away from the workplace.

Personal time off (PTO) is another policy found in some employment handbooks. This section explains the basic laws around absence from work.

TIME-OFF FROM WORK: Taking leave of absence can include vacations, maternity and paternity leave, as well as sick leave.

The laws of employment give you the legal right to take time off work for certain situations. Even so, you may not always get paid for downtime.

Generally, all employers pool a bank of hours for staff vacation days and time off for sickness.

In most cases they will also make provisions for employees to have time off work for family reasons and emergencies.

Important: Always check your contract of employment. You may have extra rights than those listed in these employee time off work guidelines.

Working Hours and Breaks

Arranging staff working hours is part of business management. It helps businesses, and its workers, to balance their duties in the workplace and at home.

And how does that work?

Meeting the demands of 24/7 is a balancing act between leisure time and working time regulations. So, it usually results in a more flexible approach to working hours and break times.

Management are seeing the benefits of flexible starting and finishing times. As a result, it can include an increase in shift work, working at home, and job sharing.

Employment Law: Taking Time Off Work

Bank Holidays

The UK bank holidays 2022 calendar shows the next official public holiday. You can also check how many days off we observe nationwide around the United Kingdom.

Employee Rights on Leave

Career Breaks

None of the UK employment laws deal 'specifically' with taking a career break. As a rule, career breaks will be an agreement set up between an employer and their employee.

Emergency Leave

All employees can take time off for emergency leave from work. Check out how much time you can take off to care for family and dependants.

Jury Service

As an employer, you must follow certain laws when giving staff time off to attend jury service or perform magistrate duty in the United Kingdom.

Paid Holiday

Information in the holiday pay entitlement section is useful for workers and employers. Use the guide to check holiday pay rights and calculate leave entitlement.

Public Duties

According to UK law you can take time off work for public duties and services. Nonetheless, the rights and responsibilities for employers and employees varies.

Training and Study at Work

Check if you can ask for time off for study or training, how to make the request, and how to respond to your employer's decision.

Travel Disruptions

Find out how time off due to travel disruption affects your rights. Check how journey disruptions, such as winter weather, can affect your holiday entitlement.


Maternity and Paternity Leave

Maternity Allowance

Find out what it is and whether you qualify. The exact Maternity Allowance amount you get depends on your eligibility.

Maternity Leave: Your Rights

A guide explaining employment entitlements while on leave. Check what happens to employee rights if you take time off work and then return to your job.

Maternity Pay and Leave

In the UK, Statutory Maternity Pay is for those who take time off work to have a baby. In most cases, you are eligible to claim your maternity rights as well as a range of benefits income.

Note: The Statutory Maternity Pay and Leave employer guide explains everything that employers need to know, including eligibility criteria, entitlement rates, and how 'notice periods' work.

Maternity Planner

Find out how to calculate leave and pay for parents after you have a child. The online guide helps you check whether you can get maternity leave.

Note: The Maternity, Adoption and paternity calculator for employers is a GOV.UK tool used to calculate an employee's maternity pay (SMP), paternity, or adoption pay.

Parental Bereavement Pay and Leave

Information in the Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay and Leave employer guide explains the eligibility criteria, entitlement rates, and how notice periods work.

Paternity Pay and Leave

Paid Paternity Leave is an entitlement for parents, adopters, or surrogates. Check how taking Paternity Pay and Leave gives you an option for a brief spell off work.

Note: The Statutory Paternity Pay and Leave employer guide explains everything that employers need to know, including eligibility criteria, entitlement rates, and how 'notice periods' work.

Shared Parental Leave and Pay

The section about Shared Parental Leave (SPL) explains how it gives mothers an option to end maternity leave and pay early.

Note: The Shared Parental Leave and Pay employer guide explains employee eligibility, the entitlement rates, and how 'splitting blocks of leave' works.

Statutory Adoption Pay and Leave

Check the Statutory Adoption Pay and Leave employer guide to find information on the eligibility criteria, entitlement rates, and how notice periods work.

Unpaid Parental Leave

View a guide about Unpaid Parental Leave entitlement. The information covers employee parental leave eligibility and maternity leave notice periods.


Statutory Sick Pay

ASP Guide

Farm workers get agricultural worker holiday entitlement and paid sick days too. But, they usually get Agricultural Sick Pay (ASP) instead of SSP.

Note: You can use the GOV.UK website to calculate agricultural holiday entitlement in England and in Wales.

SSP Guides

How much Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) you get depends on several key factors. SSP rates get paid by your employer if they do not run company sick pay for staff off work with illness.

Note: Information in the employer guide to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) covers eligibility criteria, current rate, and when to use fit notes and form SSP1.

Taking Sick Leave

Most employers have set methods for staff taking sick leave from work. So what kind of proof of sickness does your employer need according to employment laws?

Note: As an employer, you can calculate your employee's statutory sick pay using the online service via the GOV.UK website.


Working Time Regulations UK

The Working Time Regulations (WTR) govern the hours that most workers can work. Thus, in the United Kingdom they set out:

Working Hours

The Working Time Regulations determine the maximum weekly working time. They govern the patterns of work and holidays, as well as the daily and weekly rest periods. WTR also covers the health and working hours of night time workers.

The Regulation applies to both part time and full-time workers. It includes the majority of agency workers and freelancers. Even so, certain categories of workers do get excluded.


UK Rules for Time Off Work: Holidays, Sick Days, Maternity and Paternity Leave

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