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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
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Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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i work 30 hours a week and at the moment am atending the hospital

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i work 30 hours a week and at the moment am atending the hospital and have been told that i have to go in hospital for surgery can i take time off for my hospital appointments without pay.
Ben Jones : Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. What is the nature of the medical condition for which you need time off?

I have a problem with my bladder.

Ben Jones :

You cannot automatically take unpaid time off work unless it has been approved by your employer. The only argument you could use to do so (or even take the time off as paid) is if you have a disability. In that case the employer would have a duty t make reasonable adjustments to assist you and one argument is that allowing you time off for appointments or treatments is a reasonable adjustment and you would not have to use up the time from your holiday allowance.

In the legal sense of the word, disability can have a broad meaning and there is no single list of medical conditions that qualify. Instead, to establish whether a person is disabled, they need to show that they meet the legal definition of a ‘disability’.

The Equality Act 2010 defines a disability as a “physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities”.

I will break this definition down:

  • Physical or mental impairment – this can include nearly any medical condition;

  • Substantial effect – the effect must be more than minor or trivial;

  • Long-term - the effect of the impairment must either have lasted or be likely to last for at least 12 months;

  • Normal day-to-day activities – these could include anything considered ‘normal’ in a person's normal daily routine (e.g. walking, driving, speaking, eating, washing, etc.)

If you meet the above criteria you would be classified as disabled and you can argue that you should be allowed time off unpaid for the treatments you require. However, if you do not meet the above criteria you would not be disabled and the employer would not have a duty to make reasonable adjustments. Therefore, if you wish to take time off for your condition you would have to either take the time off as holidays or you would need to be certified off sick and take the time off as sick leave.

Hope this clarifies your position? If you could please let me know that would be great, thank you


Thank you for your help.

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