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Here is why your boss has to give you time off work if your child is sick

It is your legal right to be able to take time off if your child is sick

by Yasmin Harisha

A new study has revealed that more than two in five parents are being "penalised" after asking for flexible work arrangements when their child is sick. The report, carried out by The Trades Union Congress (TUV), has found more than half of the workers in low-paid jobs are unaware of their legal rights. Some parents working in jobs such as retail and hospitality are receiving fewer hours, worse shifts and are  sometimes at risk of losing their job.

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The study, which polled 1,000 parents,  has found many of its participants had been told to take it as holiday or sick leave. The General Secretary Frances O'Grady told The Daily Mirror: "Too many workplaces expect mums and dads to forget all about their kids as soon as they walk through the door, but it's a nightmare to plan childcare when your boss changes your shifts at the drop of a hat, and you never work the same weekly hours twice".

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Many parents are being penalised for taking time off work to care for their children

She added: "Many parents fear losing shifts, taking unpaid leave or being viewed badly at work if they need time off to look after their kids, and it is shocking that some mums and dads are being stopped from taking their children to hospital when they are sick."

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According to Citizens Advice, you have got the "right to request up to 18 weeks of unpaid parental leave".  Employment expert  Tracey Moss said: "In an emergency, you are entitled to take time off to make sure your child is looked after. This is known as dependant leave. Your employer can't refuse you dependent leave if you have no other choice, and you can’t be disciplined or sacked for taking the time off."

She continued: "If your employer won't give you time off, or has disciplined you for having to look after your child, contact your nearest Citizens Advice for help."

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