Special Leave Policy

  1. Purpose and scope
    1.1. The purpose of this policy is to provide a consistent and effective framework for
    agreeing requests for special leave.
    1.2. The term “special leave” refers to leave which is requested by an employee in addition to
    their annual leave entitlement. Some such leave is regulated by statute whilst some is
    non-statutory and is granted at management discretion taking into account the
    particular circumstances.
    1.3. This policy applies to all paid staff and is non-contractual.
  2. Time off in lieu (TOIL) under review given Flexi-time policy
    2.1. This must relate to specific requirements of the employer – for example you are
    required to attend a training event which involves catching a train at 6am and returning
    after 9pm. Instead of the usual 9-5 you will have done a double shift and will be entitled
    to a day off.
    2.2. In consultation with your immediate supervisor, you may be permitted to take time off
    in lieu of those hours worked in excess of your normal working hours. Both the
    additional hours worked and the time off must be agreed in advance with your line
  3. Time off for dependants
    3.1. Employees are entitled to exercise their statutory right to take reasonable unpaid time
    off to deal with emergencies which are related to their dependants. “Dependant” means
    your spouse, partner, child or parent, a person who lives in the same household as the
    employee (but does not include tenants, lodgers and boarders) or any other person who
    reasonably relies on the employee for care.
    3.2. The amount of time off the employee can take is only a reasonable amount of time to
    deal with an actual emergency. This will normally mean only a few hours, or a day or two
    at most. This leave must not be taken to provide ongoing support for dependants.
    3.3. This leave is not available for events or circumstances that were known about in
    advance – annual leave should be booked instead.
  4. Time off for public duties
    4.1. Employees have a statutory right to take a reasonable amount of time off work in order
    to perform certain public duties. If an employee wishes to take time off to perform these
    duties, they must obtain prior written agreement from the Chief Executive. Public duties
    include sitting as a magistrate or on a tribunal.
    4.2. The statutory right to time off for public duties is unpaid.
  5. Jury service
    5.1. If an employee is required to take time off work for jury service, they will be expected to
    claim juror’s expenses.
    5.2. If an employee is on jury service but is not required to attend court on any particular
    day, they must attend work as normal. Failure to do so will be treated as unauthorised
  6. Time off for domestic emergencies
    6.1. The bureau recognises that employees will from time to time experience domestic
    emergencies at home, such as a flood, fire or burglary. In such circumstances the
    bureau will allow employees to take a reasonable amount of paid time off work to deal
    with the immediate emergency.
    6.2. In the event of an emergency arising, the employee should notify their manager as soon
    as it is reasonably practicable explaining the nature of the emergency and how much
    time off work they think they will need.
    6.3. It is the bureau’s policy to pay employees their normal rate of basic pay when they are
    absent from work as a direct result of a genuine domestic emergency. Once the
    immediate emergency has been taken care of, the employee is expected to return to
    work or, if further time off is necessary, to arrange to take it as holiday or unpaid leave,
    subject to the agreement of their line manager.
    6.4. If an employee takes frequent or regular time off on account of domestic problems, the
    Chief Executive has the discretion either to require the employee to make up for the
    time off by working extra time on another occasion, or to grant any further time off as
    unpaid leave.
    6.5. This policy applies to genuine domestic emergencies only and does not apply to
    circumstances that were known about in advance.
  7. Time off for medical appointments
    7.1. Medical appointments should be arranged where possible for days when the employee
    would not normally be at work i.e. annual leave or a non-working day. Where less than
    half a day is required the Chief Executive shall have the discretion to agree that the
    employee will make up for the time off by working extra time on another occasion. The
    Chief Executive shall also have the discretion to grant unpaid leave. Where a large
    number of medical appointments are required, discretionary paid special leave may be
    granted as set out in 9 below.
  8. Compassionate leave
    8.1. If an employee experiences the serious illness or death of a member of their immediate
    family (parent, partner, child or sibling) they will be granted an amount of paid
    compassionate leave. It is unlikely that this would exceed five days although
    consideration will be given to allowing the employee to supplement this with annual
    leave or unpaid leave.
    8.2. In considering the amount of leave to grant, the Chief Executive will consider the
    closeness of the relationship, distance and any travelling time involved and, in the case
    of a bereavement, whether the employee is responsible for making the funeral
    8.3. Employees will normally be granted one day’s paid compassionate leave to attend the
    funeral of an immediate family member (as listed above, plus other close relatives such
    as grandparents and in-laws). Attendance at a funeral in any other case will normally be
    taken out of annual leave or, where annual leave has been exhausted, may be granted
    as unpaid leave.
  9. Discretionary special leave
    9.1. Special leave in other circumstances can be granted at the discretion of the Chief
    Executive. This leave may be paid or unpaid. The Chair must agree in writing to any
    request for paid leave. When considering granting special leave the Chief Executive will
    balance the employee’s personal situation with the needs of the bureau and arrive at a
    reasonable decision. In making the decision the Chief Executive will take account of the
    reason for the request, the effect of the employee’s absence on bureau operations, the
    amount of special leave they have previously taken, their general attendance record and
    the amount of annual leave outstanding.
    9.2. Any leave granted under such circumstances remains at the discretion of the Chief
    Executive and allowing such a request will not be regarded as setting a precedent for
    any subsequent requests for leave.
    9.3. All employees taking discretionary special leave will be given a letter and asked to sign it
    confirming their agreement to return no later than a specified date. An employee may
    return at an earlier date than is specified in the letter by giving the bureau a minimum of
    one week’s notice.
    9.4. The bureau reserves the right to discipline (including dismiss) anyone who fails to return
    by the agreed date without an acceptable reason. Illness or injury will be accepted as a
    reason for late return, but only if it is supported by a doctor’s certificate. Every effort
    should be made to contact the line manager in advance in line with the usual policy.
    9.5. Anyone who abuses this scheme will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including
    This version approved by the CAB Gwynedd Trustee Board 24 January 2017 and was reviewed in May 2023.