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What Are My Rights Regarding Hospital Appointments?

By: Chris Hogan MSc - Updated: 18 Sep 2019 | comments*Discuss
Appointment Medical Employer Holiday


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)


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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I told manger Friday the only app I could get was Monday cuz of got asthma and a really bad cough she said I'll have to go on my break I said that fine m9nday came n another manger said no cuz might be busy bare in mind I work with food so coughing every where so now am even poorly and have to have day off aga8n witch I can't afford
Jonsey - 18-Sep-19 @ 2:01 PM
I have had a lot of appointments which my work has taken off me as holiday. I have no holiday allowance left, but still have some oncoming appointments.. what are my rights?
Bella - 8-Sep-19 @ 9:58 AM
Do I have to tell my manager the outcome of a hospital appointment,(I actually need surgery), but everyone at work seems to have an opinion on what's wrong with me and I basically don't want them all knowing my business. What do i do?
Jon - 5-Sep-19 @ 10:34 PM
I was put on a PMP pain management program at the hospital it is over 6 weeks fist 2 wks 4days next 4wks 2days my employer has taken all my holidays to cover this is allowed.
Moe - 5-Sep-19 @ 7:16 PM
I had a hospital appointment and told my employer and give them a copy of the letter the appointment had been bookedfor 4month and I was on overtime as I’d clocked up 62 hrs that week but office staff added work whilst I was on the road which made me miss the appointment how do I stand legally
Dan - 20-Jul-19 @ 3:09 PM
Giving 2 weeks notice for app got someone to cover me was told next day I could not go where do I stand took a panic attackover this I would had to paid £350 to cancel went to my dr next day high blòod pressure was sign off for 2weekswent back not getting my 39 hours
None - 10-Jul-19 @ 10:53 PM
I was run over by a forklift truck in work , I was off for 4 months. I need physioand have some appointments at the hospital. Work are telling me I can't have them days off as it's a busy period with other staff on holiday. They told me to rearrangemy hospital appointmentsfor 2 months later. I think this is unreasonableand illegal.
Enick - 29-Jun-19 @ 5:11 PM
I have booked private appointment so can my employer contact the clinic without my permission.
Shine - 25-Jun-19 @ 11:36 AM
I was offered a cancellation appointment for an operation i have been waiting for for almost 2yrs ...my employer refused to let me go ..what are my rights
Carol - 10-Jun-19 @ 11:12 AM
I have only been working for my current employer for 6 months and I don't get full sick pay. I want to take 3 weeks off for an operation and recovery. I would like to use my annual holidays for this, but my employer says that I can't take holidays for hospital treatment and recovery. What should I do?
Chalky - 23-May-19 @ 10:48 PM
I have to take one and a half hours off work with my daughter for councilling she suffers fromanxiety and the councilling is for berevement for nana and papa i am single parent and dont get benefits but my work still take time off me every week and hospital appointments as well can they do this she is 15years old so i still have to be there kind egards catherine
Kate - 2-May-19 @ 3:44 PM
I have to go to hospital 3half days a week for 3 months starting 5th June for intensive therapy.Where do I stand ? I work full time
Flipper - 19-Apr-19 @ 1:58 PM
Been on sick 1 year through work accident Been waiting for an appointment but had a letter off work saying i refused a appointment how could they now that with out me telling them
Workhard - 11-Mar-19 @ 2:16 PM
I have rems I have a lot of pain and do take sometime off work due to this disability but I'm always docked wages even though its a life long condition is this right for them to keep docking my wages
Madmax - 1-Mar-19 @ 1:25 PM
I was recently diagnosed with epilepsy and I was just wondering if my hospital appointments are covered or do I have to take them as sick leave Many thanks Tracey ennis
Tennis - 9-Feb-19 @ 10:11 AM
Well this is nonsense. The nhs state that workers are entitled to time off for hospital appointments during work time. They can’t deny you health care
Jjones - 23-Jan-19 @ 10:18 AM
I have a Hospital Appointment out of my normal working hours, and as I work in communications, and expected to work overtime in the busy period (December)My Managers are telling me I can't meet my Hospital Appointemt, even though it is outside my working hours.As I have recently been diagnosed with an overactive thyroid, these appointments are crucial to my well being. Can they force me to work overtime ???
suzie - 20-Dec-18 @ 1:37 PM
Can employers make you take your annual leave off if you are off long term with a daughter in hospital rather than unpaid leave? Thanks
Kirk - 11-Dec-18 @ 3:06 PM
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
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
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
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