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Summer holidays

Handling leave requests during the busy summer period

15 Jun 2018

Summer holiday requests can pose difficulties both for employers if they have a number of workers wanting the same time off during the busy summer period, and for staff who might have children who need looking after or who simply want some time off in the sun. 

We consider below some common queries regarding holidays along with top tips for business owners and staff.

How much holiday are workers entitled to? 

Workers are entitled to a minimum of 5.6 weeks holiday per year. This equates to 28 days for full time workers and a pro-rated equivalent for part time workers.  This amount can include bank and public holidays. There is no statutory right to bank or public holidays. However, employers can give additional contractual holiday.

How much notice do workers have to give to take holiday?

Under statute, notice given to an employer should be at least twice the length of the requested time off. Employers may also stipulate a longer period of notice in their contracts of employment or holiday policies. In practice, employers may grant holiday requests where shorter notice is given as long as this doesn’t pose difficulties for the business.

Can a request for holiday be refused? 

Yes, the employer can decide when leave can be taken. However, they should act reasonably and have clear business reasons for refusal. Refusals should be given at least as many calendar days before the proposed leave commences as the number of days which have been refused.

However, employees should be allowed to take their statutory holiday entitlement during the annual leave year.

Top tips for employers and business owners

  • Manage expectations - have a clear holiday policy in place which sets out: 

    • How much notice an employee needs to give
    • Approval process
    • How many consecutive days can be taken
    • The right to refuse requests 
    • How multiple requests are usually dealt with e.g. first come first served or rota system
  • Treat staff fairly and consistently but also consider employee’s personal circumstances on a case by case basis
  • Be aware of the risk of potential discrimination if refusing holiday requested for religious reasons or by staff with childcare needs
  • Try to grant holiday where you can – note the benefits of work life balance and a rested workforce 

Top tips for employees and workers

  • Check your holiday entitlement and your employer’s process for requesting holiday
  • Request holiday with as much notice as possible
  • Don’t book holiday without permission having been granted by your employer
  • Consider if there are any other forms of leave you could take such as parental leave or time off for dependants