Home > Ask Our Experts > What Are My Rights Regarding Hospital Appointments?

What Are My Rights Regarding Hospital Appointments?

By: Chris Hogan MSc - Updated: 26 Apr 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.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
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
What is the law regarding having to provide proof of medical appointments? My employer is asking to see proof of all medical/hospital appointments. I sometimes have to attend appointments which are of a deeply personal nature. I work in a small company and both the senior managers are men. I find having to show proof- and therefor potentionally disclosing the nature of an appointment (for instance I recently took time off for an abortion-something I would NOT want my employer to know ) intrusive and an invasion of privacy and it forces me to disclose information to my employer that would be intensely personal and possibly none of their business. Can my employer really demand proof of medical appts? ??
Anniko - 29-Dec-16 @ 8:10 AM
SPRRPS3327 - Your Question:
I had an appointment with the physiotherapist today and was there an hour, work allow me 2 hours pay to attend appointments which I think is more than generous. but the physio recommended that my doctor put me on different medication. on leaving I phoned my doctors to see if I could see a doctor and thankfully there had been a cancellation so went to see him immediately. on my way back to the van as it was parked close to the hospital where my physio is I saw my boss who said where have you been and why you been taking so long etc. I told him as above and said you're lying the physiotherapists have just told me they don't know who you are and have not seen you at all,,, my question is, is my boss allowed to go to the nhs hospital to check up on my arrival and is the reception staff allowed to say what they did, as now I have to go to some effort to prove where I was but I don't feel I should. thanks.

Our Response:
Yes, your employer can check whether you have a hospital appointment (usually you will be asked to provide the appointment letter as proof). You may also wish to check the terms of your contract to see what it specifies. However, as a rule, if your employer is suspicious for any reason, then they can check.
WorkingRights - 22-Dec-16 @ 12:17 PM
I had an appointment with the physiotherapist today and was there an hour,work allow me 2 hours pay to attend appointments which I think is more than generous. but the physio recommended that my doctor put me on different medication. on leaving I phoned my doctors to see if I could see a doctor and thankfully there had been a cancellation so went to see him immediately. on my way back to the van as it was parked close to the hospital where my physio is I saw my boss who said where have you been and why you been taking so long etc...... I told him as above and said you're lying the physiotherapists have just told me they don't know who you are and have not seen you at all,,, my question is, is my boss allowed to go to the nhs hospital to check up on my arrival and is the reception staff allowed to say what they did, as now I have to go to some effort to prove where I was but i don't feel I should. thanks.
SPRRPS3327 - 21-Dec-16 @ 7:23 PM
Jlee- Your Question:
I was assaulted and pulled out of a moving vehicle which resulted in me having to go to a&e, the surgeon referred me to the hospital to get my nose looked at as it is possibly broken/fractured, I didn't make the appointment and I took the letter to my employer, I tried to reschedule the appointment but was told if I do so I will go back on the waiting list and wait ages for another appointment, I was told an hour and 20 minutes before my appointment (I was in work under the impression they would let me leave) that I can't go, the year is nearly over and I still have 66 holiday hours left to take and it seems they have no intentions of giving me them, feels like I need to fight to get my right to take holidays or attend important hospital appointment, I was also made to feel like it was my fault when I didn't make the appointment, what should I do?

Our Response:
I think in this instance you should firstly read your contract to see whether it specifies workplace rules regarding taking holidays. You don't say whether your employer agreed to the appointment in the first place and then retracted the agreement? If so, you would need to speak to your employer directly and if the issue is not resolved and you continue to think you are being treated unfairly, either give ACAS a call for more advice regarding your rights and/or decide whether you wish to raise a grievance, please see link here.
WorkingRights - 20-Dec-16 @ 10:40 AM
I was assaulted and pulled out of a moving vehicle which resulted in me having to go to a&e, the surgeon referred me to the hospital to get my nose looked at as it is possibly broken/fractured, i didn't make the appointment and I took the letter to my employer, I tried to reschedule the appointment but was told if I do so I will go back on the waiting list and wait ages for another appointment, I was told an hour and 20 minutes before my appointment (I was in work under the impression they would let me leave) that I can't go, the year is nearly over and I still have 66 holiday hours left to take and it seems they have no intentions of giving me them, feels like I need to fight to get my right to take holidays or attend important hospital appointment, I was also made to feel like it was my fault when I didn't make the appointment, what should I do?
Jlee - 19-Dec-16 @ 11:45 AM
Nickie - Your Question:
I'm 3 months pregnant and recently got taken to hospital with a suspected ectopic pregnancy, my work have put it down as a unpaid sick day! Where do I stand?

Our Response:
Much depends upon the terms of your work contract and what it says about sick pay. You may wish to discuss this with your employer directly.
WorkingRights - 6-Dec-16 @ 10:49 AM
I'm 3 months pregnant and recently got taken to hospital with a suspected ectopic pregnancy, my work have put it down as a unpaid sick day!Where do i stand?
Nickie - 5-Dec-16 @ 3:13 PM
Loulou86 - Your Question:
I have been asked to go for an emergency appointment about a possible cancerous mole.I have only been given 2 days notice from the hospital of appointmental I just phoned my boss yo explain and was told I can't have the time off as there are no staff to cover my shift so have been told to re-arrange my hospital appointment.do I have any grounds as I fear she may sack me if I just go to my appointment

Our Response:
You may wish to visit your GP and ask for a doctor's note to back you up.
WorkingRights - 15-Nov-16 @ 12:00 PM
I have been askedto go for an emergency appointment about a possible cancerous mole..I have only been given 2 days notice from the hospital of appointmental I just phoned my boss yo explain and was told I can't have the time off as there are no staff to cover my shift so have been told to re-arrange my hospital appointment...do I have any grounds as I fear she may sack me if I just go to my appointment
Loulou86 - 14-Nov-16 @ 6:34 PM
I had a hospital appointment for my tonsils to be removed and the hospital called and cancelled. I had booked time off work. Can I claim for loss of earnings?
Jim - 1-Nov-16 @ 9:33 AM
AnyaN - Your Question:
I just received a hospital appoinment which is 10 days away. I'm on maternity leave and my partner has been declined an annual leave for that day. It an outpatient appointment and will last about 4 hours. I cant take my 3 months old there. I dont have anyone else to look after the baby. And I needed my partner to drive me there (20 miles each way) as I wouldnt be allowed to drive after and we only have 1 car anyway.Can he not take it as carers leave or something? The declined it as holiday as its too close to the day. Thanks

Our Response:
His only recourse is to explain the situation to his boss and perhaps ask to take it as unpaid leave. It is discretionary whether his boss issues him with leave when it is not his hospital appointment.
WorkingRights - 28-Oct-16 @ 12:46 PM
I just received a hospital appoinment which is 10 days away. I'm on maternity leave and my partner has been declined an annual leave for that day. It an outpatient appointment and will last about 4 hours. I cant take my 3 months old there. I dont have anyone else to look after the baby. And i needed my partner to drive me there (20 miles each way) as i wouldnt be allowed to drive after and we only have 1 car anyway. Can he not take it as carers leave or something? The declined it as holiday as its too close to the day. Thanks
AnyaN - 27-Oct-16 @ 1:11 PM
I've been required to attend an occupational health checkup out of my working day with my relatively new employer. This is off-site and with travelling there and back took about and hour and three quarters. I've since been advised this is unpaid. I fail to understand how attending an appointment to disclose personal medical information at a place other than my place of employment solely for the purposes of enabling my employer to comply with the health and safety and employment legislations that THEY need to comply with should be in my own time and at my expense. I suspect this illegal. Perhaps you could comment.
Ethan - 21-Oct-16 @ 1:01 PM
I have been with my employer for 1 year. I am currently being tested for arthritis and have X-Rays, Blood tests and other related appointmentsduring working hours. I showed my Office Manager referral letter and she asked me if she can have a copy to put it to my records as a proof- of course I have said no because there was a confidential information such as clinical history. Is she allowed to do that and is she allowed to ask for a proof of further hospital appointments ? Thank you very much for your response in advance!
Katyia - 4-Oct-16 @ 12:53 PM
cookbutterfly - Your Question:
I am pregnant and my employer only allows me one hour paid time for antenatal appointments which is unrealistic considering distances etc but most importantly only allows me to attend if I can find cover for that, which in my job involves employing a self employed person to do my hours. Obviously no self employed person would accept having to turn down full day bookings or incur travelling costs just to go somewhere to work for two hours or one, this meaning that I need to book the whole of the day often. However my employer won't allow me to return to work after my appointment so I don't lose pay as he will have the cover in place. I just realised I have been allocated holidays instead for the hours over the 1 allowed for antenatal so any pay I would have got would have been deducted from my paid holidays. To top it all I worked with double cover for a few hours and they are refusing to pay me for these hours or give me time in lieu. It's worth noting I work 44 hours a week so there's no other option for me to get appointments outside work. Is it legal to do so? Can they refuse pay if they had someone covering me? Also they asked me to get cover for the week before my maternity leave but I don't want to lose that pay too. I don't need extra cover and I don't want to be sent home a week before I need to. Can they ask me to?

Our Response:
According to WorkSmart, your employer cannot 'unreasonably refuse' you paid time off to attend antenatal care classes during working hours when you are pregnant. If your employer unreasonably refuses you time off or will not pay you for the time off, you can make a complaint to an employment tribunal. You may also be able to claim that your employer's actions amount to sex discrimination and/or pregnancy and maternity discrimination, please see link here . However, you may wish to seek advice via ACAS regarding this prior to speaking to your boss, and please also read the details of your work contract.
WorkingRights - 30-Sep-16 @ 10:05 AM
I am pregnant and my employer only allows me one hour paid time for antenatal appointments which is unrealistic considering distances etc but most importantly only allows me to attend if I can find cover for that, which in my job involves employing a self employed person to do my hours. Obviously no self employed person would accept having to turn down full day bookings or incur travelling costs just to go somewhere to work for two hours or one, this meaning that I need to book the whole of the day often. However my employer won't allow me to return to work after my appointment so I don't lose pay as he will have the cover in place. I just realised I have been allocated holidays instead for the hours over the 1 allowed for antenatal so any pay I would have got would have been deducted from my paid holidays. To top it all I worked with double cover for a few hours and they are refusing to pay me for these hours or give me time in lieu. It's worth noting I work 44 hours a week so there's no other option for me to get appointments outside work. Is it legal to do so? Can they refuse pay if they had someone covering me? Also they asked me to get cover for the week before my maternity leave but I don't want to lose that pay too. I don't need extra cover and I don't want to be sent home a week before I need to. Can they ask me to?
cookbutterfly - 29-Sep-16 @ 3:41 AM
Hi. I had a dentist appointment about 3 months ago. This was just a routine check up. However, I had a dull tooth ache so although not urgent, i wanted to attend this appointment to get it checked out. A week before my appointment one of my colleagues handed his notice in and we were suddenly short staffed so I had to re-arrange my appointment. That appointment was for 3 months time (now) So my new appointment is this week and on reminding my boss I've been asked if I can re-arrange it again. I explained to him Although it is a routine check, I still have a dull and annoying tooth ache and really need to get it checked out. I can't wait another 3 months to be told I may have to re-arrange it AGAIN! and I'm more concerned that I might be taken off the lift for my dentist and be left in a real problem when I may need the dentist more urgently. How many times can a boss tell you to re-arrange the same appointment ? I fear I may never make it to the dentist and this tooth ache maye materialise into something more serious.. let alone how frustrating it is to live with!
Dolly0209 - 14-Sep-16 @ 8:21 PM
Hi wonder if you could advise me. My dad had spinal surgery, before thus never been off work had letters for years about good attendance.However on return he was issued a stage 2 absence letter, which was are in grievance about as this policy came into play after his return.However he had to have a colonoscopy as a day case, he was off on annual leave and called his manager to explain he would notbe in on the Monday as he had this unpleasant procedure, and obviously could not go in after due to the side effects.His mangerhas now informed HR he's been off sick for a day !Any advice please.Thanks
Crazyeyes - 14-Sep-16 @ 8:22 AM
Lil - Your Question:
I work in a school,just had 6 weeks off,during my time off I had blocked ears that I knew needed syringing,went to the doctors 3 times!!!.Last visit to the Drs.was told they needed to be Syringed.no nurses available at my local pratice was then referred to my local hospital,had to wait for an available appointment which was when I was back at work,got to leave work only 15 mins earlier,my boss has said I have to make up that time!!.My boss can see that I really need to get my ear wax removal but is saying still have to my those minutes up!!!

Our Response:
You would have to abide by your employer's decision as it is up to his/her discretion whether you should have a hospital appointment in the organisation's or your time. You may wish to also read your contract as time off for appointments should be explained in there.
WorkingRights - 13-Sep-16 @ 12:50 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the WorkingRights website. Please read our Disclaimer.