Hello! I hope someone can answer my question today... :S
Is it acceptable by law to ask an employee for proof of a hospital / doctor's appointment that is attended during working hours? If so, what paperwork do we need to see?
Thank you to anyone who can help me out with this!
Erm, yes - you can ask for proof of an appointment. That proof could be anything from a letter or appointment card to actually ringing the surgery/hospital to confirm the appointment.
However......you need to be careful. Introducing it as a blanket policy is ok, but if you are specifically targetting a particular member of staff it might have implications on your ongoing relationship with them.
Also, what are you going to do if they refuse/cannot provide proof? Will you stop them attending?
semper ad meliora
Thanks for the advice. We will most definately be monitoring all employee's appointments during working hours due to a recent rise in the number of late afternoon appointments made. No individual will be targetted.
I just wanted to make sure that asking to see some kind of appointment card or letter would be unlawful or unethical. We have no interest in what the appointment is for (unless the employee comes to us with those details because it may affect their job role).
Thank you again :o)
Can I just add though, if it is in the case of maternity, all you are legally allowed to ask for is proof of her first appointment, not subsequent.
And you can't contact the person's doctor/surgery without their written consent.
scotschick:in the case of maternity, all you are legally allowed to ask for is proof of her first appointment, not subsequent.
Sorry to disagree scotschick but you have got that the wrong way round. It clearly states at Section 55 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 that in the case of time off for ante-natal appointments an employer is entitled to ask for proof of appointment for all but the first appointment.
Also, an employer can happily ring a doctor's surgery to check what days and times that ante-natal apointments are run without asking anyone's permission. It is only if they want information relating to a specific patient that written consent is needed. You would be surprised how many employees say that ante natal classes only run in the middle of the day when in fact there are appointmetns available at the end of a working day.
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