23 June 2022
Derbyshire Police Federation is urging members with concerns about compassionate leave requests to get in touch with their Fed rep.
It comes after researchers who examined Time Off for Dependants (TOfD) and Parental Bereavement Leave policies of the 43 forces in England and Wales found that just one was close to acceptable.
Derbyshire Police is the only force in the country that does not have a specific policy on TOfD but said that all requests for such time off would be considered under the compassionate leave policy, which is discretionary.
Some forces were found to be misleading officers and often denying them their right to TOfD and Parental Bereavement Leave.
Others have policies which state “there is no legal right to be paid” for TOfD, even though it is treated as duty and duty is always paid for a police officer.
And a number of forces also cap the number of paid TOfD days or have wrongly put a limit on the number of days that can be taken off consecutively.
Derbyshire Police Federation chair Tony Wetton said: “In the event that any of our members feel that they are not being treated fairly, they should make contact with us straight away.
“This is not something offered as a perk or a favour, it is an important benefit in Police Regulations that our members are perfectly entitled to make use of when necessary.
“It is to enable officers to support loved ones in times of need so its value and importance should not be downplayed. We want to make sure that our members have a proper understanding of what compassionate leave is available to them when they need it.”
Tony said that it was understood that female colleagues often took greater responsibility for caring for children and elderly relatives within the family so were likely to be disproportionately affected by the issue.
Police Federation national equality lead Ian Saunders warned some Forces were deliberately downplaying or misrepresenting these entitlements in their policies.
He said: “The low take-up of TOfD in most forces is a sign they have effectively minimised something they should instead be actively promoting to enable those with dependants to remain as police officers and continue to serve the public.
“If this is partly a cost-cutting exercise, then forces are mistaken. The cost of losing those in service with invaluable experience massively outweighs the cost of paying officers to take this leave.
“There is also a need for culture change as we found officers taking this leave are made to feel they are letting their team down or should be grateful for taking TOfD leave even in instances where this is less than their entitlement.
“If forces want to successfully recruit and, just as importantly, retain, they need to see the bigger picture.
“We have presented our findings to the National Police Chiefs’ Council, and we would urge chiefs to act upon it.”