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medical and dental appointments policy
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Medical and dental appointments policy

Medical and dental appointments policy

Use our medical and dental appointments policy to set your rules on time off work to attend health-related appointments. Special rules apply to antenatal appointments and you need to take care with disabled employees but, other than that, there’s no legal right for an employee to either take time off for medical appointments or to be paid for it.

Legal position

There is no general entitlement in law for employees to take time off work to attend medical and other health-related appointments, nor to be paid their normal salary if time off is granted. These are entirely matters for your discretion. However, special rules apply to antenatal appointments and to accompanying a pregnant woman to antenatal appointments. In the former case, all pregnant employees have the right not to be unreasonably refused paid time off work to attend antenatal care that is recommended by a registered medical practitioner, a registered midwife or a registered nurse/health visitor. The right applies regardless of the employee’s length of employment or the number of hours she works. Except in the case of the first appointment, the employee can, however, be required to produce a medical certificate confirming she’s pregnant and an appointment card or some other document showing the appointment has been made. In the latter case, an employee who is the spouse or civil partner of a pregnant woman, or the partner of a pregnant woman who lives with her in an enduring family relationship (but not her relative), or who is the father of an expected baby, is entitled to take unpaid time off work in order that they may accompany the pregnant woman to an antenatal appointment made on the advice of a registered medical practitioner, midwife or nurse. This is limited to a maximum of two occasions, with each occasion lasting no more than 6.5 hours. You can request the employee to sign a declaration in this regard which states that they have a qualifying relationship with a pregnant woman or her expected baby, they are taking the time off to accompany her to an antenatal appointment made on the advice of a registered medical practitioner, midwife or nurse/health visitor and the date and time of the appointment. You also need to exercise care when the time off work is being requested by an employee to attend a medical appointment on account of a condition that amounts to a disability under the Equality Act 2010. Allowing time off for necessary medical appointments is likely to fall within your duty to make reasonable adjustments under the legislation

Policy provisions

Our Medical and Dental Appointments Policy encourages employees to arrange medical appointments in their own time but acknowledges that this is not always going to be possible. Where it’s not possible, the policy states that you will permit staff to take reasonable time off work for such appointments but, even so, they should arrange such appointments to cause minimum disruption to the working day. We’ve made it clear in our policy that time off for medical appointments has to be authorised in advance by the employee’s line manager and, unless there are exceptional circumstances, no more than two hours should be taken for any one appointment. We’ve also required the employee to give as much advance notice as possible of the date and time of an appointment and reserved the right to ask them to reschedule it where the timing of it would cause disruption to the work of their department. In addition, we’ve included a paragraph covering the position where the employee can’t make their medical appointment in advance, for example because they’re attending a walk-in clinic or their doctors’ surgery has abolished an appointments system in favour of a first come, first served system. As for whether the time off will be paid or unpaid, we’ve made this entirely a matter for your discretion. Be aware that you need to be reasonable and consistent here in exercising your discretion. Finally, we’ve covered the specific position in relation to antenatal appointments.



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