I have had several requests from employees who all want off the same period of holidays in the summer – do I have to accept these requests or can I refuse my employees the holidays?
In the months leading up to and during school holidays many businesses can be inundated with holiday requests for the same period. As an employer the first thing you need to remember is that you have the right to refuse holiday requests, and second, that you follow the correct processes in accordance with your employees’ contracts then you can refuse all or part of an employee’s holiday request. In situations when you can grant holidays without leaving yourself short staffed and the employee has enough holidays remaining then you should grant those holidays when possible. This could be of benefit to the employee’s welfare as they may need time to relax after a stressful year.
As an employer you also have the right to inform all employees of certain times of the year when holidays are not permitted or only a limited number of people can be away. This may be common in companies where seasonal demand is a factor and a high volume of employees cannot be away during such a busy period. The key to this issue is consistency. You must ensure that when you allow holidays to certain employees but refuse others that the correct procedure is followed and both employees understand why that decision has been made.
Employees should be told via their contract that they should not arrange holidays until a request is approved, this way they cannot respond to refusals with the excuse that the holiday is already booked. Should this be the case however you should monitor the employee’s absence around that date to see if they take the time off sick. The most important thing for you to remember as an employer is that as long as you treat requests equally and fairly then you can refuse any holiday request that is not in the business’s best interests. This may be during busier times for your business and you need as many employees as possible. Although you have the right as an employer to refuse the majority of holidays you should keep an open mind as the last thing you need is your employees suffering from burnout.
Tim Drake- email@example.com I work in Berkshire as a consultant for Peninsula advising on employment law and health & safety best practice. Peninsula work only for the employer. We regularly hold free advice seminars locally. Chris Lunn at Digity and I are co-hosting an event on the 22nd July at the Madejski Hotel M4 J11 email for more information or simply to register with free event code 20180.
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