Zayn Malik fans have made hundreds of calls to employment law experts requesting compassionate leave after he quit One Direction.
The 22-year-old singer, who once dated Liverpool’s Rebecca Ferguson, announced he had left the boyband yesterday.
Between 6pm last night and 9.30am today Manchester-based Peninsula received 220 calls to its Employer Advice Service.
But it seems Scousers have a stiffer upper lip when it comes to taking time off – well when it’s over Zayn anyway.
Heather Grant, employment lawyer at Liverpool firm Maxwell Hodge, said: “I haven’t received calls from any of my clients to advise that their staff want time off following Zayn’s departure from One Direction.
“As to whether Zayn Malik leaving One Direction would fall within the realms of compassionate leave, well he hasn’t died and he’s not ill, he’s just quit his job. So any policy allowing time off for the death or to care for an ill relative will not apply.”
She added: “If employers do find their employees requesting time off over Zayn’s departure from One Direction, they could allow the employee to take the time as sick leave or holiday, if they are that distraught.
“Otherwise, I suggest that employers encourage their employees to develop a stiff upper lip and get into work!”
Heather said there is no statutory right to compassionate leave. So even if a parent or other close family member dies, employees do not have any legal right to time off work, even to attend the funeral.
The only exception would be where there was a need to take time off to care for a dependant such as a child or parent who was ill or to put in place other arrangements to care for that person.
“To make up for the lack of a statutory right, many employers will have a compassionate leave policy in place.”
There were Parliamentary calls in 2013 and 2014 to create a statutory right but these calls were rejected by the Government on the basis that it was not practical to create legislation covering this area.
Instead Acas produced guidance ‘Managing bereavement in the workplace: a good practice guide’ in September 2014.
Employment lawyer Heather Grant said: “To make up for the lack of a statutory right, many employers will have a compassionate leave policy in place, allowing employees’ time off on the death or serious illness of a close relative.
“I very much doubt that anyone requesting time off is even related to Zayn; if they were I still don’t see why they would need time off.
“Any requests under company policies are therefore going to fail because there isn’t a sufficiently close relationship between Zayn and the employee.”