No, the employer does not have to allow time off for a job interview,
and taking time off or annual leave would be dictated by your
contract, the Working Time Regulations, or varied by a trade union
agreement if that is applicable to you. The employer decides when you
can take annual leave. There is nothing I can find which states you
have to give a reason for applying to take a day off. However, here is
rather an impasse, the employer decides when you take annual leave, to
vary that you have to apply, and the supplying of a reason may help to
sway your case for a day off.
Worksmart is a TUC (Trades Union Congress) web site and they state the following,
?Am I allowed time off to attend a job interview?
Not normally. You will probably have to take it as annual leave, if
your employer does not offer a flexi-time arrangement which would
allow you to take some time out during the day. Of course, it might
not be the best idea to let your employer know you're looking for
other jobs by asking for time off for an interview in the first place.
Your employer may let you have time in certain circumstances, for
example if the interview is for an internal vacancy, or if you are to
be made redundant and they are helping you to look for another job.
This would be entirely at their discretion though.?
You can find links to further information on working hours, holidays,
breaks and leave on this page.
This page sets out how much time an employee requires notice of the
need to take annual leave.
And this page shows that they do not have to grant it to you.
?Unfortunately, under the Working Time Regulations you do not have the
right to determine when you take your annual leave. The Regulations
enable your employer to require you to give notice, equal to twice the
length of the proposed holiday. Your employer does not have to agree
to your timing, although they must, at some stage in the holiday year,
allow you to take your entitlement.?
Rachel Lewis is a Work Rights Expert and she answers a similar
question on this page,
?There's no right to time off for interviews (except sometimes in a
redundancy situation). I generally think you're better off not telling
your current employer anything until the new job is all sorted out!?
?Rachel is an employment lawyer at London firm, Farrer & Co. She
advises employers and employees on all aspects of workplace rights,
including maternity, discrimination and unfair dismissal cases,
contract disputes and issues relating to working hours and pay. She
can offer advice on all of your work rights questions.?
You may find this Guardian article of interest.
I hope this answers your question. If it does not, or the answer is
unclear, then please ask for clarification of this research before
rating the answer. I shall respond to the clarification request as
soon as I receive it.