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Trade union leave

Under legislation, employees who are representatives of a recognised independent trade union have the right to be permitted a reasonable amount of paid time off work to enable them to carry out duties concerned with collective bargaining and related issues.

The right is irrespective of length of service. There is also an entitlement to a reasonable amount of paid time off to undergo relevant industrial relations training which will normally have been approved by the BMA.

Local representatives, also have a statutory right to take a reasonable amount of time off work to take part in the activities of the BMA (as opposed to their duties as a representative in relation to their employer).

There is, however, no requirement that they must be paid for such time off work although many employers will provide paid time for this work within a doctor's job plan.


Find out more about trade union leave

England, Scotland and Wales
ACAS code of practice on time off for trade union duties and activities.
Northern Ireland
NI Direct information regarding time off for trade union duties and activities

This includes a recommendation that the employer should make available facilities to enable local representatives to carry out their role effectively and many employers have formal policies of this nature.

Since 1999 the Employment Relations Act has provided individual employees with the right to be accompanied by their local trade union representative when involved in disciplinary procedures or grievances. Whilst members who have more serious issues will normally be represented by BMA full-time officials, BMA local representatives may also have an involvement in early, and less formal stages of procedures.