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What Are My Rights Regarding Hospital Appointments?

By: Chris Hogan MSc - Updated: 12 Nov 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Appointment Medical Employer Holiday

Q.

My daughter works full-time and has to take a day off work for a hospital appointment. Her employer says it must be taken as a holiday. Is this correct?

(Ms Annabel MacDonald, 16 September 2008)

A.

The short answer to this question is, unfortunately, yes. Employers are not required by law to allow workers to attend medical appointments in work time.

This means that an employer is perfectly within their rights to take the time for attending medical appointments out of an employee's holiday allowance. This is true of hospital appointments, doctors' appointments and even trips to the dentist.

Pregnancy Makes a Difference

The main exception to this is for Expectant Mothers, but even then it does not cover everyone. There are rules in place that require employers to give time off for mothers to attend antenatal care but only if it is advised by a midwife, health visitor or doctor. These rules do not apply to self-employed women, women serving in the armed forces, policewomen and share fisherwomen (those not under a contract of service).

Is Disability an Issue?

The waters are muddied slightly if the appointments are connected with a condition that could be called a disability. In that case, an employer must make reasonable Allowances For The Disability, and allowing time off for medical appointments is considered to be a 'reasonable allowance'.

If you are unsure about whether or not you fall under the definition of a disabled person in the terms of the Equality Act, then you can seek advice from your local Citizens Advice Bureau.

Look for Compromise

The good news is that most employers would want to come to some sort of accommodation to make it easier on the employee and better for the organisation. After all, having to co-operate with a member of staff is cheaper and easier in the long run than having to hire someone else to replace them.

There are a number of solutions and it is worth approaching the relevant supervisor or manager to sound them out about a different arrangement. In an office environment it might be possible to work an extra hour or two during the week that a medical appointment is due, so that the time is given back in a form of unofficial flexi-time.

This might not work with shift work but perhaps then the day of the medical appointment could be taken as unpaid leave. Although the employee's earnings would go down, they would still have their holiday allowance untouched. It depends which is the better of the two evils. Find out more about sick leave and holidays here.

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[Add a Comment]
My employer said I could go to my hospital appointment.I work part time and was gone 80 minutes. Two days later I was told I wouldn't be paid for attending my appointmentbut full time employees would be paid even though they leave at 3.30pm each day . Is this discrimination?
Tee - 12-Nov-18 @ 5:39 PM
I work part time transporting children to and from school. I’ve had an appointment through for tests in London ... I live in Kent. I rang them to inform them of the appointment but have been asked for a photo copy of the letter. Firstly I only work 3 hours a day and I would not be paid for the time off anyway! Do I have to give them a copy of my letter ?
TracyS - 8-Nov-18 @ 2:21 PM
I currently work full-time for an agency who have me working for a well known high street brand/head office role. I have a hospital appointment next week which I cannot re-schedule and I informed my manager of it who said I must take the day off, meaning I will not get paid a days wage. I requested to work another shift in order not to lose out but was refused. Is this correct? Do I need to provide evidence or a doctors note to my agency or is there any way around this so I can get paid? Thanks.
Dani - 6-Nov-18 @ 7:04 PM
I’ve been attending some medical appointments during work and sent details of these to HR. I blanked out the exact department I had to attend. I’ve now been asked to attend an informal meeting with HR as to discuss the nature of these appointments and if support is required. I’ve replied that I’m fit and healthy to work (as I am and I’ve not performed less) and that no support, appreciating the shown duty of care, is needed. I’ve asked for the proposed outcome of the meeting. HR replied 2 weeks later, to say again they need to know the nature of these appointments and see if support is required and “looking forward to seeing me”. Any advise on this matter please.
Purple - 28-Oct-18 @ 7:08 PM
Binks - Your Question:
I have never been given a contract just a job offer letter. I had to go for a hospital appointment and have not been paid for it as I took a full day off work. It would have been a 160 mile round trip if I had gone to work before or after. Been working 30+ years and been off sick once when 18 and again when 39, both hospitalised so I don't make a habit of it. I showed them letter and they said nothing about not paying me. Where do I stand please.

Our Response:
You may find the answer in the terms and conditions of your contract of employment which should lay out what your company policy is with regards to this. If it doesn't and you feel you have been treated unfairly, you should raise this with your employer informally in the first instance. If you are not satisfied with the result, your next option would be to raise a grievance, please see the link here . However, as a rule, employers are not required by law to allow workers to attend medical appointments in work time or are they required to pay them if they do.
WorkingRights - 4-Sep-18 @ 10:09 AM
I have never been given a contract just a job offer letter. I had to go for a hospital appointment and have not been paid for it as I took a full day off work. It would have been a 160 mile round trip if I had gone to work before or after. Been working 30+ years and been off sick once when 18 and again when 39, both hospitalised so I don't make a habit of it. I showed them letter and they said nothing about not paying me. Where do I stand please.
Binks - 1-Sep-18 @ 10:49 AM
Just reading through all the above scenarios and it has made me firstly, grateful for my current health and secondly pretty appalled at the general level of mistrust and disregard for the average worker placing profit before people. Get kind ! it feels good
jojo - 20-Aug-18 @ 8:47 PM
I booked 1 days holiday off work for a hospital appt..the boss didn't pay me for that day.
secrets - 17-Aug-18 @ 9:21 PM
@Patty- you should always put your health first, especially regarding something like this. If your employer refuses either take it as annual leave or take a day off sick. Surely, you could also do this after or before work?
PaN - 17-Aug-18 @ 12:33 PM
Last year I found a lump in my breast, thankfully it turned out to be non cancerous, but it was mentioned I could have Lymphoma and needed blood tests, mentioned this to my line manager and she said that I had to offer my shift up. Cut a long story short no-one took it so I couldn't go nearly a year later I am going again what should I do?
Patty - 24-Jul-18 @ 6:20 PM
@Pabs - the thing to tell them first is no Fridays or Saturdays. You can tell your employer what you want as you are the employer (as long as you keep to the terms of the contract you have issued).
LisG - 28-Jun-18 @ 3:31 PM
An employee needs to attend hostpital forinjections every month. I do not have a problem with it, However due to the nature of our job we arebusy fridays & saturdays. The employee told me theren s an appointment to attend on a friday afternoon when we are very busy. Can I refuse and tell the employee to reschedule their appointment as the business will be affected.
Pabs - 27-Jun-18 @ 7:54 PM
Doyley - Your Question:
I recently booked a day off work for a hospital appointment as annual leave this was for the quietest day of the month with no other employee off that day I was told I could not take it off as the warehouse manager was on a health and safety course this should not have affected my appointment as the management know I have to keep these appointments for my control of diabetes your comments please

Our Response:
If you’re a worker and you’ve tried solving a problem or concern informally by talking to your manager but you’re not satisfied, you can make a formal grievance complaint in writing. This is your only recourse to complain - please see link here.
WorkingRights - 1-Jun-18 @ 10:02 AM
I recently booked a day off work for a hospital appointment as annual leave this was for the quietest day of the month with no other employee off that day I was told I could not take it off as the warehouse manager was on a health and safety course this should not have affected my appointment as the management know I have to keep these appointments for my control of diabetes your comments please
Doyley - 31-May-18 @ 1:09 PM
Not correct with regards time for chemotherapy being taken from annual leave. Cancer diagnosis gives rise to a disability recognised under the equalities act 2010. Appointments related to the disability should not be taken from an annual leave allowance
Gaz64 - 24-May-18 @ 9:09 PM
Jacko - Your Question:
I am currently being given chemo make sure I have it late on a Friday afternoon to recover over the weekend I start work at 5am and my appointments are after 4 pm so I ask to finish work at 4pm to get to the hospital my company are now telling me I have to take it as annual leave even thou I have worked 11 hours

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. You don't say how many hours you are contracted to. Unfortunately, if you have to take time out and your employer is not understanding, then you would have to take the time as unpaid or annual leave. Reading your contract may help you answer your question.
WorkingRights - 11-May-18 @ 2:08 PM
I am currently being given chemo make sure I have it late on a Fridayafternoonto recover over the weekendI start work at 5am and my appointmentsare after 4 pm so I ask to finish work at 4pm to get to the hospital my company are now telling me I have to take it as annual leave even thou I have worked11 hours
Jacko - 8-May-18 @ 1:39 PM
I am due to have a procedure whereby I'm getting 6 injections into my spine. My appointment in 3.30 in the afternoon and under sedation. I also have mental health issues and suffer severely from depression and anxiety. My employer is forcing me to work the morning of my appointment. I asked to take annual leave but there was no time left on the department due to it being Easter. They have suggested I work extra on the Tuesday before the op so I am still doing these hours. I have been told if my appointment was sooner in the day then I wouldn't be required to work at all. Being nil by mouth I can't eat from 09.30 and no water from 13.30. The water isn't an issue as I'll be leaving at 12.30 anyway. However, the mental torture and anxiety I face, means I'm not very productive and it's cruel when people around me are eating and drinking what ever they want. Is there any mental health act or disability act that advises I should be given the whole day, and subsequent days off for the procedure and adequate recovery. I strongly feel like seeking legal advice against my employer for un-necessary suffering.
Paula - 30-Mar-18 @ 12:45 AM
Hi my daughter was diagnosed with A.L.L in may 2016 up until a 4 months ago my husbands work had no problem with him taking time off to attend hospital appointments etc etc... my daughters treatment ends in august this year... his works have all of a sudden got funny with my husband taking time off to go to appointments and saying he has to take it as hoilday or make time up.... they have never done this in the past and they have never paid him when having the time off , which we wouldnt expect them to... they have also told him that once he has used his hoilday time up then they would take him down the absence line for taking our daughter to hospital appointments or even taking time off when she has been taking into hospital with high temps or more ...does anybody have any advice they could give me or has anybody else gone through this as it is adding more stress onto our already stressed lives.x
Heidi - 6-Mar-18 @ 12:35 PM
My husband got an eye injury at work but continued th work the rest of the day then went into work the next day bit after a couple of hours he had to go to hospital as his eyes were really sore and he was felt it wasn’t safe to continue to work the machine he stands at all day should his employer have paid him the rest of the day
Jessie - 23-Feb-18 @ 8:21 AM
My husband got a flash in his eye at work but continued to work that day then went to work the next day but had to leave and go to hospital as his injury was stopping him concentrate on his work as an engineer working a machine should his employer take that days wages off him ?
Jessie - 23-Feb-18 @ 8:12 AM
Terri - Your Question:
I have asked for leave for a hospital procedure and have been refused however I have been advised to phone in as sick which will also go against me as I'm on a sick warning so I feel this could be them trying for constructive dismissal. Where do I go with this. I have an OH appointment the day after the procedure so won't have their support until after.

Our Response:
Your only recourse is to speak to your employer directly about this issue and ask how you can best resolve it. You may have to take a day or two annual leave instead of sick leave in this instance.
WorkingRights - 15-Dec-17 @ 1:46 PM
I have asked for leave for a hospital procedure and have been refused however I have been advised to phone in as sick which will also go against me as I'm on a sick warning so I feel this could be them trying for constructive dismissal. Where do I go with this. I have an OH appointment the day after the procedure so won't have their support until after.
Terri - 14-Dec-17 @ 7:10 PM
My employer is saying that I have too many hospital appointments and that she doesn't have to pay me for them.I have gestational diabetes (currently 21 weeks pregnant) and due to this I have to attend hospital every other week, unfortunately our hospital is 45/60 mins away and take up a whole morning.Can she refuse to pay me? And does she only have to pay me for the appointment itself or travel time/waiting time too? Thankyou
Nicky - 21-Nov-17 @ 4:45 PM
My employer says that I am having too many hospital appointments and she reserves the right not to pay me for them (due to the hospital being about 45-60 mins away resulting in an appointment taking up half of a morning), I have gestational diabetes so unfortunately am required to attend appointment every other week! Does she have the right to do this? And does she only have to pay me for the appointment duration itself or travel time/waiting too? Thankyou
Nicky - 21-Nov-17 @ 4:41 PM
My daughter is a childcare apprentice. She requires a day off for a Hospital appointment in a major hospital. As a pre appointment for major heart surgery, she has already undergone surgery twice when younger & this appointment is for her adult surgical procedure so isn't just a run of the mill app. However, after informing work 2 months ago, the nursery have no said she has to work tomorrow instead of going to her appointment. They also said they will rearrange her hospital appointment when she goes into work. Surely this isn't right & I have a right to be furious at them?
C - 22-Sep-17 @ 9:34 AM
Helpplease - Your Question:
I have injured my thumb and have found out on Tuesday I have to have surgery tomorrow, work are saying I have to take it as a sick day! Is this correct? Thanks in advance

Our Response:
If your employer says you should take it as a sick day, then you should.
WorkingRights - 14-Sep-17 @ 2:46 PM
I have injured my thumb and have found out on Tuesday I have to have surgery tomorrow, work are saying I have to take it as a sick day! Is this correct? Thanks in advance
Helpplease - 14-Sep-17 @ 9:33 AM
Lol - Your Question:
Hi my daughter works full time and has a hospital appointment to get wisdom teeth removed her work are saying that they are under no obligation to give her the time off she wasn't expecting to be paid but just needs the time off which they won't allow is this right ?

Our Response:
In the first instance, your daughter may wish to check the terms and conditions of her employment contract which should hold the answers. However, your daughter may have to take this as part of her annual leave, if her employer refuses.
WorkingRights - 24-Aug-17 @ 12:10 PM
Hi my daughter works full time and has a hospital appointment to get wisdom teeth removed her work are saying that they are under no obligation to give her the time off she wasn't expecting to be paid but just needs the time off which they won't allow is this right ?
Lol - 23-Aug-17 @ 2:15 PM
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