12 Dec 2018

Holiday jackpot up for grabs

A quirk of the 2019 calendar could see employees bagging 18 days off work while only using nine days’ holiday. 

Next Spring, thanks to a late Easter, employees can claim a whole 18 days off work (including three weekends) but use only nine days’ holiday.  This is because there are three Bank Holidays all close together – 19th April, 22nd April and 6th May.

For employers, this may not be good news.

Staff being away for two and a half weeks, while using only nine days’ holiday, might affect a business’s productivity. Horses do not take any account of Bank Holidays in their needs and in fact, you may find Bank Holidays are busier than normal if clients want to squeeze in an extra lesson.

But you are not going to be popular as an employer if you refuse everyone and even less so if you allow some staff the full holiday whilst refusing others. You may argue first come first served, but this might discriminate against part time staff, or those away ill or on holiday who weren’t there to get their holiday request in in time.

So must employers always have to approve holiday requests? Employers do have the right to refuse holidays, say where it would be disruptive to a business. The key is probably to communicate with your staff. Some people may not be too bothered about taking that time off anyway and would prefer to exchange it for the certainty of another time. Perhaps you could organise a rota so not everyone is off at the same time and the business needs are covered.  If you can work something out by co-operation, that is probably the best solution.  Either way, it is important to remind staff that permission for holiday must be sought in advance, before being booked, and final approval of holiday depends on the needs of the business.  This would be better mentioned sooner rather than later, before staff start making plans which then can’t be changed, or have to be, causing disruption and a disgruntled workforce.

This item first appeared in a slightly different form in the December BETA newsletter, written by Paul Kelly at Blacks Solicitors, who can be contacted on PKelly@lawblacks.com