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Statutory Right to Time Off

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The Applicant took time off work, on medical advice, for grief following a bereavement. She was dismissed.

As she lacked a year's continuity of employment, she brought a claim alleging dismissal for exercising her statutory right to time off "to take consequence of the death of a dependant" under s57A(1) of the Employment Rights Act.

The EAT held that sickness absence caused by grief is not time off to take action in consequence of the death of a dependant; that phrase only extends to matters such as time off to make funeral arrangements, registering the death and applying for probate.

Since the absence did not fall within s57A, the employee failed in her unfair dismissal claim.

Forster v Cartwright Black