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misselle

Special leave for funeral refusal

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i was wondering if anyone had any advice with regards to the current situation im im. i recently lost my grandparent and the funeral is early next week. i work shifts and i am due to work the late shift the day before and of the funeral. i requested 2 days special leave to attend as i have to drive 6 hours to where the funeral is being held. i was refused the special leave on the grounds that it was not a close relative. i quizzed hr about this and they said there are no set rules and that it would be down to my manager to decide and that they would not over rule. the thing is i know of three other people whom have been grated special leave for a grandparents funeral and one who had it granted for an uncles funeral. they have said i can use my holiday leave to attend but im furious that i should have to do that when people in the same situation havent. can anyone advise?

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I am afraid that your only options are internal. There is no law on this, so it is at the employers discretion. You may have to submit a grievance showing that there has been some disparity in the way the rule is applied - but that doesn't mean that you will win.


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I am a barrister specialising in employment law, and only represent employees. My advice on employment issues is advice - not legal opinion - and is based only on the facts you provide. If you want an accurate assessment of your case and prospects, you should get legal opinion from a lawyer - not a public forum. Anything I tell you is for guidance only, and is based on my experience of the law in the context of what details you provide.

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To ensure you attend the funeral it may be wise to use the holiday process as indicated by your manager. At the same time submit a grievance highlighting your concerns.

 

You should describe the relationship you had with your grandparent and therefore in your circumstances special leave is justified.

 

You may win your grievance if you can show you have been treated unfairly regarding special leave for a close relative. It is not wise to state "joe bloggs had special leave for his grandparent" because everybodys circumstances are different.

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Compassionate leave is at the discretion of any employer - the only other 'leave' is that you can take for dependants, which may include immediate relatives or those who depend on you. However, not allowing compassionate leave for 2 days to attend a funeral a long distance away (in my opinion) is actually quite mean, and does not make commercial sense - many people are extremely close to their grandparents, and not allowing reasonable time off could mean that that person may be signed off with ill health in the future due to their grief? Grief is recognised as an important emotion in dealing with a death, but still so many employers have no interest in recognising this. It's a shame, but I can see it from both an employer's/employee's point of view..

 

Any grievance will fail unless you can show that you were treated differently in the same circumstances - which is difficult bearing in mind that each circumstance IS different and therefore different measures were required in other people's case. A grievance cannot be justified simply because you do not like something - you must have a valid reason. I'm not doubting your reasons and you have a legal right to raise a grievance, but if you do want to take things further in the correct way, ring ACAS and speak to them first, just so that you do not end up in the wrong place - after all, I'm sure that you have enough to deal with at this moment in time.


Lived through bankruptcy to tell the tale! Worked in various industries and studied law at university. All advice is given in good faith only :)

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