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Discrimination act

My son, who is disabled, is having an operation in the near future and I need time off for this. My headteacher is being unco-operative about it.

How can I get the time off with pay? I'll either be with my son in hospital, or looking after his younger brother while my wife is at the hospital. Is there an entitlement in either of these cases? From talking with teachers at my school it appears that women staff have been granted medical time off with pay but, as the only man, I feel that I am not receiving the same deal.

This is a complicated area of the law. Basically, you may be covered under the provisions relating to Parental Leave that were introduced a couple of years ago. You can find out more at http:www.dti.gov.ukerintguid1.htm.

Curiously, I can find nothing on the Department for Education and Skills's Teachernet about the subject, so that may be why your head is confused.

Certainly, this is an area where both parents should have equal rights. If you don't feel you are being properly treated, this is an issue to take up with your professional association.

If you have a question for John Howson, please email susan.young@tes.co.uk

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