What are my rights?

Hi All hope you are all as well as can be.

As some of you may have seen, i have recent been advised to try steroids. Iv opted for IV and my boss has had over a week to get his brain around it but yesterday he told me that I couldn’t have time off until 1 of the guys I work with comes back off holiday!

I gave him over a weeks notice and explained that my nurse would be in touch with a date and he was fine but now hes saying that!!

Iv tried looking online for advice to see where I stand but cant find anything. Does anyone know where I can find some info or had the experience with work?

Although there is no statutory right for time off to attend appointments the equality act requires your employer to make reasonable adjustments so that you are not disadvantaged in the workplace due to your disabilities. MS is covered by the act even if you do not consider yourself to be disabled. This is slightly different to an appointment but it is not an emergency so the same principle applies.

it is not unreasonable for an employer to negotiate a more favourable time for planned procedures but it must be recognised that this is the NHS - you can’t often pick and choose. Sometimes a delay of many months can occur if an appointment is not taken up, this is unacceptable.

As there are no cut and dried rules this is one where you need to negotiate. Can you go above your line manager? Do you have a HR dept? CAB can help with what to next - like raising a grievance if you hit a brick wall.


Hi Sammie

not knowing your Job or your symptoms etc etc but you do have rights. If you have a diagnoses of MS you are covered by the law even if symptoms are not that bad that you think of your self as disabled.

There is so much information and advice I would speak to Citizens advice to ensure you know the correct advice for your situation.

Time off to visit the doctor or dentist

Your employer may allow you time off work to visit the doctor or dentist but they are
not legally required to do so unless your contract of employment says they are.
Your employer can, for example, insist that you make these visits outside work
hours, that you take holiday leave or that you make the time up later on. You should
check your contract of employment to see what rights you have to take time off for
doctors or dental appointments.

Pregnant women, however, are allowed reasonable paid time off work for ante-natal
care. This time does not need to be made up later on. If you are disabled and your
employer will not let you take time off for a medical appointment connected with your
disability, they could be breaking the law. You should get help from an experienced
adviser - see Further help at the end of this fact sheet.

Completely agree with Jane - you are not automatically allowed time off for a scheduled hospital appointment (i.e. not an emergency admission).

However, the thought occurs to me that if you are in a relapse, you would probably have had no trouble at all getting signed off sick - if you’d wanted to. I’m not saying that’s the way to go - if you can work, and want to.

But the irony is that if you had, you’d have had no work commitments, and could have gone to the hospital whenever they said.

So, whether he means to or not, the message your boss is sending is: “Next time, it’s better to go sick.” It’s tricky, because you don’t want to sound as if you’re trying to blackmail him - it won’t be good for future relations.

But maybe you could try pointing out that an MS relapse is usually ample grounds for being off sick altogether. You’ve helped him out by choosing not to take that route, even though you could have. But now there are obstacles around getting outpatients’ treatment. So clearly, from your point of view, going sick would have been better. It’s a tricky one, because a lot of bosses take the view that you’re either well enough to be at work, or you’re not, and IF you turn up as usual, it’s assumed you have no more compelling claim for time off than anybody else - because you’ve reported as fit!

Maybe you learn from this experience, and next time you have a relapse (I hope there won’t be a next time for ages, of course), you just say: “S*d 'em all!”, and go off sick.

Not the best attitude, but if it does away with this hassle about whether or not you’re “allowed” to go to the hospital for steroids, you have to do what’s best for you. They are silly people! They haven’t encouraged you to try to keep working where possible.



See the bottom orange para of page 87 of the attached.

The document is the Statutory Code of Practice to go with the 2010 Equality Act and thus provides official guidance on how the Act is to work in real life. In other words, it has legal standing and legal teeth - it isn’t just some wishful-thinking bucket list from a pressure group or something.

It specifically lists (on p87) time off for occasional treatment as the kind of thing that an employer must consider granting in order to comply with his duty to make reasonable adjustments (although he doesn’t have to pay you for that time).

This means that your boss would need an amazingly good business reason not to grant you time off and it is hard to imagine what sort of reason would be a good enough one. (Hint to your boss: the fact that granting time off might be a bit of a pain in the arse is not a good enough reason!) Realistically, in my opinion, he must give you the time off.



Hi Sammie,

It revolves around that word ‘reasonable’ again.

From the Employment Statutory Code of Practice.


‘Disabled workers may sometimes require time out during the working day to attend medical appointments or receive treatment related to their disability. On occasions, it may be necessary for them to attend to access needs such as wheelchair maintenance or care of working dogs. If, for example, a worker needs to take a short period of time off each week over a period of several months it is likely to be reasonable to accommodate the time off.’

I would say you are being reasonable; if he wants to disagree register a difference and take the company to tribunal. Draw a line n the sand; if they think they can do it they will try again.


This is a letter you should send to your employer

Reasonable Adjustment Request – Work PLEASE DELETE

Your address

Employers Name

Employer’s address


Dear (Name of the person you are writing to),

Subject: (Title of your letter/what it is about)

I would like to make a request for all reasonable steps to be taken to alleviate the disadvantage I am facing.

(Describe what has happened and the impact this has had on you. Give the facts of the case, being specific and clear. Make particular reference to the substantial disadvantage you are experiencing.)

Under the Equality Act 2010, employers are under a duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled persons.

The duty to make reasonable adjustments has the purpose of addressing a situation in which a disabled person is placed at a substantial disadvantage, in comparison with persons who are not disabled. Any adjustments made must be reasonable to do and can take 3 forms;

  • A change to a provision, criterion or practice
  • A change to a physical feature, and/or
  • By providing an auxiliary aid.

I would like you to consider the following reasonable adjustments: (If possible offer as many different options as you can)

I look forward to receiving your response in writing within 14 days from the receipt of this letter or in line with the company’s grievance procedure.

Yours sincerely/faithfully, (delete as appropriate)

(Your name)

My guess is that if you mention the 2010 Equalities Act he’ll reconsider. If he doesn’t then ask to see the ‘top’ boss. I think everyone is aware that people with disabilities have rights in law but very few bosses actually take the trouble to familiarise themselves with the law.

And remember your boss is just that he’s not your friend nor is it up to him to say yes or no to your reasonable request.

Thanks for the advice all!

I emailed him after posting this as he was out of the office telling him the dates and he was more than happy to let me go when i needed!

Maybe he has done some research. But all this info wont be wasted! Thank you all again x

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