Expert advice

Does my employer have to give me time off for a job interview?

Your nursing contract may not cover this step in your job search, so be prepared to negotiate
Job interview illustration

Your nursing contract may not cover this step in your job search, so be prepared to negotiate

As with most things job related, your contract of employment will detail whether you are entitled to time off to attend a job interview and, if so, whether this time off will be paid or not.

If your contract of employment does not specifically grant you the right to time off to attend an interview, it is unlikely your employer will be obliged to automatically provide you with the time off you want. This doesnt mean they cant or wont, just that it is not an automatic right.

Negotiating with your employer

If your employer operates a form of flexible working or a shift system, you can request to work the hours that would provide you with the necessary time

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Your nursing contract may not cover this step in your job search, so be prepared to negotiate

Job interview illustration
Picture: iStock

 

As with most things job related, your contract of employment will detail whether you are entitled to time off to attend a job interview and, if so, whether this time off will be paid or not.

If your contract of employment does not specifically grant you the right to time off to attend an interview, it is unlikely your employer will be obliged to automatically provide you with the time off you want. This doesn’t mean they can’t or won’t, just that it is not an automatic right.

Negotiating with your employer

If your employer operates a form of flexible working or a shift system, you can request to work the hours that would provide you with the necessary time off to attend the interview.

If there is no flexible hours system in place or you are required to work set hours each day, you will need to negotiate the time off with your employer.

Your employer may allow you to take the time as unpaid leave or you could take annual leave. Alternatively, you could, with your employer’s permission, attend the interview and make up the hours you miss either in advance or at a later date.

If you need to book annual leave to attend the interview, the notice period from request to the intended period of leave is generally twice as long as the amount of leave. You may not be entitled to take less than a whole day of leave at a time – check your contract of employment as this should provide the details. 

Where do I stand as a part-time worker?

If you are a part-time member of staff, you are generally entitled to take part days of leave. If you need to take a single day of annual leave you are generally required to provide your employer with at least two days’ notice.

Your employer would be legally entitled to refuse your request to take leave if there is a justifiable operational reason why they need you to work at that particular time.

Where you are asking for something that is not a contractual requirement, it is generally in your best interests to try and negotiate this with your employer.

If for any reason you do not want your employer to know you are attending an interview with another prospective employer, you could ask your potential future employer whether you could attend the interview outside of your normal working hours.


Picture of Marc Cornock

Marc Cornock is a qualified nurse, academic lawyer and senior lecturer at the Open University

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