What examples of absences authorised by statute are there and what is the entitlement to pay?

You have a right to time off work in certain circumstances.

As well as 5.6 weeks' holiday a year, there are legal rights to paid time off for:

Some statutory rights provide access to time off that is part paid and part unpaid, for example, statutory maternity leave and pay.

There are also rights to unpaid time off for:

  • a baby’s father or the woman’s partner to accompany her to up to two antenatal appointments;
  • a secondary adopter (to attend up to two adoption appointments);
  • parental leave;
  • dependants' leave;
  • public duties (e.g. magistrate, school governor); and
  • trade union members engaged in trade union activities.

Some of these statutory rights are only available to employees, not to temporary agency workers.

Most of the statutory rights to time off that are available to temporary agency workers can only be accessed after 12 weeks spent doing the same kind of job for the same hirer. They include:

  • paid time off when pregnant to go to antenatal appointments;
  • unpaid time off to accompany your partner to up to two antenatal appointments;
  • paid time off for up to five adoption meetings if you are the primary adopter; and
  • unpaid time off for up to two adoption meetings if you are the secondary adopter.
Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.