Thank you. As long as you did not sign yourself off sick, if needed, have any other genuine reason for absence and you also failed to attend your shifts, that would amount to unauthorised absence from work. You were not granted time off by the employer so you need an official reason to have been off work.
The options for time off would have been as follows:
- Dependency leave – this is only for emergencies and it could be used to start with, once something unexpected occurs, like school or nursery suddenly closing. However, once it is apparent that this will be happening on an ongoing basis, it will no longer be classified as an emergency and dependency leave will not be applicable. See here for further details: https://www.gov.uk/time-off-for-dependants
- Parental leave – workers get 4 weeks of unpaid leave per year per child that they can take, although they need to give at least 21 days’ notice to do so. If the employer cannot accommodate the chosen dates, they must offer an alternative. See here for further details: https://www.gov.uk/parental-leave
- Holidays – to be applied for and taken in the normal way
- Unpaid leave - only if approved by the employer
If you have issues with the current shift system, raise these officially with the employer and make a formal flexible working request if needed.