Case study: force majeure leave

Mary rang her employer from home to say that her youngest child was seriously ill with flu. She asked if she could have 2 days off work to look after him. Her employer asked if she wanted to take annual leave. Mary said that she wanted to take force majeure leave instead. Mary’s employer agreed but said that when she was back at work she would to have apply in writing for the force majeure leave that she had taken.

As soon as Mary returned to work she sent in a written application for the 2 days’ force majeure leave which included her personal details, her relationship to her child, the dates and reason for the force majeure leave.

Some months later Mary’s father died suddenly and Mary asked if she could have a day off to go to the funeral. Mary’s employer said that unless she took annual leave she would lose a day’s pay if she went to the funeral. Mary thought that she could take force majeure leave for a day as the Parental Leave Act 1998 allows a maximum of 3 days force majeure leave in a 12-month period. Her employer said that unfortunately force majeure leave is only for the illness of a close family member. It does not give any entitlement to leave following the death of a close family member.

Page edited: 27 February 2014