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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 48176
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I have a hospital appointment this Wednesday which can not

Resolved Question:

I have a hospital appointment this Wednesday which can not be rearranged, I have written proof of this from the hospital as it is regarding a one off treatment i must have on my eyes. Work are unwilling to authorize or pay me. I am on an attendance improvement plan as i was off sick with stress last year due to various personal issues, however i have not been off sick since but had one day off last week due to my little girl being sick. Anyway basically work are saying that if i attend my appointment I will be expected to attend a meeting and a possible disciplinary. I have contacted my union but am getting very stressed out with the situation. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you Sarah
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. How long have you worked there please?

Customer:

ten years

Ben Jones :

Is the treatment needed for a long term condition that affects you substitutional in terms of carrying out your normal day to day tasks?

Customer:

the hospital found a slight rip in my retina behind my eye and have said that i will need lazer treatment to bound it together to prevent it getting worse. If it was left it could potentially cause blindness. This treatment is a one off and I'm sure my follow up appointments could be made outside of work.

Ben Jones :

Is there a policy on taking time off for appointments in work?

Customer:

yes however i am unsure of the actual wording. I work in a school but my employment comes under Bolton council.

Ben Jones :

ok let me get my response ready please

Customer:

ok thank you

Ben Jones :

In general there is no right to attend hospital appointments during working hours, even if they are pre-arranged or reasonably urgent. The employee would either have to take this time off as a holiday (which incidentally can be legally refused by the employer), as unpaid time off, if agreed with the employer. If the holiday request is rejected and the employer does not allow you to take the time off paid or unpaid, then by attending the appointment anyway would amount to unauthorised absence from the workplace and is a potential disciplinary matter.


 


There are certain exceptions, for example if your condition classifies you as being disabled, but for that to apply there has to be a medical condition which has lasted for more than a year and which substantially affects your ability to carry out normal day to day activities. From your description this looks unlikely in this case.


 


Therefore, in your circumstances, if you were to go to the appointment anyway, it can potentially lead to a disciplinary if the time off from work has not been authorised. You are always expected to take the time off first and ensure you are allowed to have it off before you confirm any medical appointments. Also most employers would be relatively flexible about allowing their employees to take time off so it is also unfortunate that yours is rather strict about it.

Customer:

Thank you Ben. As i am concerned about my sight and do not want to miss the appointment because the only other time I could rearrange it for would be the the end of Easter, would i get sacked? Also I am in the early stages of pregnancy and am suffering with sickness but am frightened to take time off work, could this also result in a disciplinary.

Ben Jones :

how long have you worked there for?

Customer:

ten years

Ben Jones :

clean disciplinary record?

Customer:

i have had one verbal 2 months ago because i forgot my mobile phone which resulted in me not ringing in when i was late. This then resulted in one of my students getting into trouble which i was left accountable for. Hope this makes sense.

Ben Jones :

with ten years service they should be careful about just going ahead with dismissal and they really need to consider going though a fair procedure, for example issuing warnings but written ones not just a verbal as that does not really count. So instant dismissal may be rather harsh. As to pregnancy absences - these also need to be discounted as inclding them in disciplinary matters would most likely be discriminatory

Customer:

Thank you Ben, If i contact the hospital again tomorrow and explain that the situation what would you suggest i do if they are adamant i must get the treatment asap. I don't want to get into trouble with work but I also don't want to risk my health.

Ben Jones :

difficult situation and you have to decide what i more important and where the greater risk lies - many would say health is the priority, but if a slight delay would not increase the risks of it getting worse you may wish to take a later appointment to avoid issues with the job - obviously you need proper medical advice first to endure you are making the right decision

Customer:

Thank you!! I will seek medical advice tomorrow and then decide. Thanks for your help. Kind regards Sarah.

Ben Jones :

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Customer:

Will do, Thanks again

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