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What Are My Rights Regarding Hospital Appointments?

By: Chris Hogan MSc - Updated: 14 Dec 2017 | 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]
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
I resently had a accident at work were i twisted my back on several visits to the doctors ether using my holidays or making up the hours i no have to see a spinal surgeon & the company say i have to use a day off my holiday entitlement even though like i said it was due to a work accident can they do that.
Skidda - 19-Aug-17 @ 6:32 PM
@Rick - . If you followed the procedures of your employment contract, then you can raise a grievance. If you just took time off without organising it or negotiating time off with your employer, then you would be at fault.
MasiiD - 1-Aug-17 @ 12:45 PM
I've been having stomach issues since February. I went to the doctors had some blood test an stool test. Both came back with something showing up. So my doctor booked me in during work for my results an sent me to a specialist for a camera down my throat and up my backside. Both on different dates. Now am in disciplinary for time off. Do I have an argument or case to put forward
Rick - 31-Jul-17 @ 6:37 PM
Postedd- Your Question:
My manager asked what medication I'm taking, during a performance review. He was noting it down. I think that he's going to put it in my HR file. I'm not happy as my medication has nothing to do with performance at work. Also every medical appointment has to now go in my file.

Our Response:
You can see more via the NHS link here which will help you further.
WorkingRights - 24-Jul-17 @ 10:40 AM
My manager asked what medication I'm taking, during a performance review. He was noting it down. I think that he's going to put it in my HR file. I'm not happy as my medication has nothing to do with performance at work. Also every medical appointment has to now go in my file.
Postedd - 21-Jul-17 @ 6:02 PM
shrek - Your Question:
Is the policy on hospital appointments and payments from work still the same as 2016? I have an appointment coming up and unsure about the current policy

Our Response:
You would have to check with your company directly regarding this, as each company has its own individual policy. As specified in the article, employers are not required by law to allow workers to attend medical appointments in work time. It is entirely discretionary.
WorkingRights - 30-Jun-17 @ 10:27 AM
is the policy on hospital appointments and payments from work still the same as 2016? i have an appointment coming up and unsure about the current policy
shrek - 29-Jun-17 @ 1:13 PM
Kez - Your Question:
How do I stand on payment for ongoing appointments for health reasons I need to visit the Dr at least 4 times a year for ongoing diabetes checks? I'm currently being unpaid for the hours I need to visit the Dr

Our Response:
Much depends upon the terms and conditions of your contract and whether your employer allows this and/or whether it is at your employer's discretion. Otherwise, you would have to include these trips in your annual leave and/or take them as unpaid.
WorkingRights - 30-May-17 @ 10:34 AM
How do I stand on payment for ongoing appointments for health reasons I need to visit the Dr at least 4 times a year for ongoing diabetes checks? I'm currently being unpaid for the hours I need to visit the Dr
Kez - 29-May-17 @ 7:56 AM
My child has a drs appointment and I need time off work. I won't be paid for this but they are requesting proof of the appointment. By law, do i need to provide this? I will only be taking a few hours off!
C - 26-May-17 @ 4:43 PM
My son had a accident at work. A pan of stock spilled on his arm with a bad burn. After hospital treatment he was made to return to work. The hospital have since referred him to a burns unit and told it will take upto 18 to 24 months to heal. Can they stop him going for his treatment by telling him that he will lose his job if he goes to his for his appointment.
Worried - 26-Apr-17 @ 8:19 PM
Tart68 - Your Question:
I was in hospital for 6 weeks from Nov 15 to Jan 16 then of for a further year recuperating. I am now just back at work full time after a phased return to work. I have now got long term ongoing health issues which require me to attend consultants appts and hospItaly appointments regularly. Sometimes weekly my worry is I will run out of annual leave. Am I entitled to any of my appointments not using annual leave. I've been told even if I need an operation the day of this will need to be annual leave. Is this correct. I work for NHS Scotland.

Our Response:
Much depends upon the terms and conditions of your employment contract and what it specifies.
WorkingRights - 26-Apr-17 @ 10:37 AM
I was in hospital for 6 weeks from Nov 15 to Jan 16 then of for a further year recuperating. I am now just back at work full time after a phased return to work. I have now got long term ongoing health issues which require me to attend consultants appts and hospItaly appointments regularly. Sometimes weekly my worry is I will run out of annual leave. Am I entitled to any of my appointments not using annual leave.. I've been told even if I need an operation the day of this will need to be annual leave. Is this correct. I work for NHS Scotland.
Tart68 - 25-Apr-17 @ 8:46 AM
Firebug - Your Question:
I have a op coming up and I will to book it as holiday can my boss refuse this

Our Response:
It is rare that an employer will refuse time off for an operation. However, you would have to speak with your employer directly regarding this.
WorkingRights - 17-Mar-17 @ 2:34 PM
I have a op coming up and I will to book it as holiday can my boss refuse this
Firebug - 10-Mar-17 @ 7:38 AM
Hi my wife is awaiting a full knee replacement, Maeopathy operation on c4/5 on her kneck, as well as having Bronchiecstasis. And at times is unable to walk due to the pain and discomfort. The specialist appointments that she has to attend are very difficult for her and at times is to unwell to attend her appointments. What is she supposed to do ? know one will come out to her and she is unable to attend the appointmentsis 68 yrs of age.
Mchale - 24-Feb-17 @ 8:34 PM
I have an operation to get done and my boss is not letting me have time off for it at all. Is this against the law for her to do this? I have a medical condition called ectodermal displacia which is the operation is for.
Meg - 25-Jan-17 @ 9:28 PM
Iain jones- Your Question:
Work have told me I must book hospital appointment as a sick day I asked for a holiday they said no is this legal

Our Response:
You would have to read the terms and conditions of your employment contract, the procedure should be laid out there.
WorkingRights - 24-Jan-17 @ 2:47 PM
Work have told me I must book hospital appointment as a sick day I asked for a holiday they said no is this legal
Iain jones - 24-Jan-17 @ 6:47 AM
@12345 - can't you have it done before work? GP surgeries open pretty early to allow for people to come in before 9. Or can you come in later and add the missed work time off at he end of the day? Your employer is allowed to request you take it as unpaid leave as it they are not obliged to let you have the time off. Nik.
NJ - 18-Jan-17 @ 1:49 PM
Recently diagnosed n put on medication that requires me to have regular blood tests in the morningthen come into work after it....was weekly now its once a month but now my work are asking me to take it as a holiday or unpaid.....im arguing the point that i cant afford a day off every month and have asked docs if i can get later appointment but doc says no its goto be done morning time..i also feel that my day off to attend docs is marked as abeing absent from work wen in fact im offering to come in...where do i stand
12345 - 18-Jan-17 @ 8:02 AM
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