You have the right to reasonable time off work without pay to deal with emergencies relating to people who depend upon you. The dependant may be a child, spouse, parent or anyone else who reasonably relies on you for help in an emergency.
A common example of an emergency that would qualify you for this type of leave would be a child or child minder falling ill and you having to take time off work to look after the child. If you know in advance that you will need time off (for instance to take a child to a pre-arranged hospital appointment), this will not qualify as time off to deal with an emergency and you should make alternative arrangements to have this time off such as requesting annual leave or parental leave.
Given the nature of this type of leave, we recognise that it is unlikely that you will be able to give much in the way of prior notice of your intention to take time off to deal with an emergency. You should however let your line manager know as soon as possible that you need to take time off to care for a dependant.
Length of leave
The entitlement is to “reasonable” time off. What is a reasonable length of time will depend upon the individual circumstances of each case. You should make alternative arrangements for the care of the dependant as soon as possible to allow you to return to work. For instance, if your child falls ill, you can take time off to deal with their initial needs such as taking them to the doctor and arranging for their care but not necessarily to look after the child for the duration of their illness.