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At my work we're completing some secure checks which require some very in depth form filling. One of my colleagues has a dual nationality, and therefore is having to take some crazy steps to get this form completed. Part of this is that he needs to go down to his embassy to get some documents and have a meeting.

Now, our manager has told him to take half a day of personal leave to get this sorted. I cannot believe this is actually happening, are his rights being infringed here? Can our employer ask a colleague to take a half day of leave to do this? These checks are required by our company to do certain contracts. This should be done as working time, correct?

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    Forms which require trips to an embassy are usually government mandated and not necessarily for the company, just things the company has to deal with. – cdkMoose Nov 2 '18 at 17:54
  • is it unreasonable to think that the employee should conceivably already have the needed documents on hand? In other words, my child is dual nationality and we have everything she could possibly need. – NKCampbell Nov 2 '18 at 19:49
  • @NKCampbell Does your child have forms for a company to do certain contracts? – paparazzo Nov 2 '18 at 20:14
  • lol - well no of course not, nor did I mean to imply that. It was just a question that maybe the company expects that these are common things a dual nationality worker should have on hand in this particular context, thus they don't feel justified in allowing paid time off to deal with it. Just a thought :) – NKCampbell Nov 2 '18 at 20:49
  • what sort of "secure" checks SC or DV? or do you mean your colleagues right to work in the EU/UK ? – Neuromancer Nov 2 '18 at 23:11
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Unfortunately, the answer is very much "it depends".

If the employee's contract stipulated that work involving such checks would be necessary, or it could be argued that the employee should already have had these checks / documents in place, then there's at least some argument to say it's not really infringing on his rights to make him take personal leave to sort the problem out. If the above doesn't apply, then yes, I'd say the company should be paying for the time required to sort this out (he is getting them filled out solely for the purposes of the company after all.)

Resolving the situation really depends on how much aggravation he's prepared to cause over half a day's leave. I'd certainly start by gently pushing back to the manager, saying something akin to:

Hi x,

I know you've asked me to take this as personal leave, but since I'm sorting out paperwork that's only ever required for tasks at this company, I feel it should be paid for as company time. Is there no way we can work this out without me having to sacrifice some leave to get this sorted?

At that point there's every chance he may relent, realise that it's an unreasonable request and just tell you not to worry about it.

If he doesn't, then your next option is to put a more formal email together with the chain of events and email HR explaining that you don't feel this should count against your annual leave entitlement - but this may get your manager's back up, so it depends very much on where you want to draw the line on this.

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