Time off for Public Duties

You are entitled to time off work, in addition to your normal holiday quota, for certain public duties.

Your employer can choose to pay you while you perform your role, but they are not obliged to.

As an employee, you are allowed a 'reasonable' amount of time off if you are:

  • a magistrate (also known as a justice of the peace).
  • a local councillor.
  • a school governor.
  • a member of any statutory tribunal – for example, an employment tribunal.
  • a member of the managing or governing body of an educational establishment.
  • a member of a health authority.
  • a member of a school council or board in Scotland.
  • a member of the Environment Agency or the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.
  • a member of the prison independent monitoring boards in England and Wales, or a member of the prison visiting committees in Scotland.
  • a member of Scottish Water or a Water Customer Consultation Panel.
  • a trade union member, carrying out your trade union duties.

There may be an issue around what your employer regards as a 'reasonable' amount of time off. You should agree this figure before undertaking your duties. It should be based on:

  • how long your duties might take.
  • the amount of time you have already taken off for carrying out your duties.
  • how the time off will affect the business.

Your employer can refuse a request for time off if they think it is unreasonable. If you believe your employer is not allowing you sufficient time off, your options include submitting a formal grievance.