This is when you are legally allowed time off to go to the doctor or dentist

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Heading to the doctor or dentist for a check-up is something everyone is familiar with, but getting an appointment outside of work hours can be tricky.

But if you only need a couple of hours to attend a routine appointment, are you legally entitled to time off work to do so?

There is no statutory right to take paid or unpaid time off to attend routine medical or dental appointments

There is no statutory right to take paid or unpaid time off to attend routine medical or dental appointments

Your legal rights

Many practices typically operate between the hours of 9am to 5pm, with limited slots in an evening, forcing millions to request time off from work if they need a quick check-up.

There is no statutory right to take paid or unpaid time off to attend routine medical or dental appointments.

Entitlement to time off for non-urgent doctor or dentist appointments is dependent on an individual employer, and a worker's rights will be outlined in their contract.

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The contract will state if a worker has the right to attend such appointments during work hours, in line with the firm's policy, and if they do, whether this time off will be paid or unpaid.

It will also state whether a worker is required to do any overtime to make up for the hours of work they have missed.

Different rules if you are pregnant

The rules regarding time off work differ slightly if an employee is pregnant, and are somewhat more lenient to allow for necessary check-up appointments.

Alastair Brown, employment rights expert at BrightHR, told The Mirror: "In these situations, you have a specific right to reasonable, paid time off work to attend antenatal appointments, provided these are made on the advice of a doctor, midwife or registered nurse.

"After the first appointment, you can request medical confirmation of the pregnancy, known as a Mat B1 form, alongside an appointment card providing the antenatal appointment if you wish.

"Remember that fathers and partners of the pregnant employee can also take unpaid time off for up to two antenatal appointments."

What are your rights for urgent appointments?

If you need to attend an urgent or unforeseen medical appointment, time away from work is likely to be classed as sickness absence.

This means that either statutory or contractual sick pay will be due.

Employers should also be mindful that employees with a disability may be required to attend medical appointments more frequently than others, and if they are denied time off this could potentially result in a claim for discrimination.