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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 49833
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Hi We have an ex colleague who was on a 3 months trial period

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We have an ex colleague who was on a 3 months trial period which we had to let go before the 3 months was up because of poor performance and the fact that we couldn't afford to keep her on. We let her go on the grounds of drop in sales and couldn't afford to keep her.

She knew she was on a 3 month trial period, no contract had been signed by either party. We paid her 1 weeks pay in leiu of notice. During the XMAS break the company was on a shut down and we use our holiday entitlement during this period.

She is claiming that she did not know about having to use her holiday entitlement and was not given a months notice that this was the case. I remember clearly saying at the end of November that holiday leave would have to be used during this period. She has said that if she had known this she would have come into work but this was not an option as the whole building was locked for the period and access was not available.

She is also claiming that as we had not issued a contract to her we were breaking the law. She was on a trial period and we didn't think we had to issue a contract until this period was completed and we kept her on.

We are only a small company and struggling to keep afloat so we don't want any legal issues coming back to us. Can you please advise me if we are in the wrong or are we okay with this.

Thank you.

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to be able to assist with your question today. Please let me know what exactly is she claiming from you - what is she expecting you to do about this?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.



Hi Ben


She want us to pay her the 7 days holiday pay she believes she is entitled to because she doesn't think she should be told that she has to use holiday entitlement for the Xmas break. She says that we should have given her at least 1 months warning that holiday entitlement had to be used and she claims that I didn't inform her of this, which I did discuss this at the end of November when I was informed that the building would be closed during this period. Basically it is her word against mine. She also said that if she had known that she would have to use her holiday entitlement then she would have come into work. This was never an option as the building is locked up over this period and we don't have keys.


She also claims that she should have legally received a contract even though she was on a 3 month trial and if this contract had have been issued to her then all holiday information would of been in the contract, which isn't strictly true. The annual holiday entitlement would have been in the contract but not necessarily the fact that holiday entitlement would have to be saved for the Christmas break. I have never had a contract from any of my previous employers stating the rule regarding holiday closures. It is a given norm that holiday entitlement would have to be used. Companies are not in the habit of giving people time off with full pay for Christmas holidays.


I await your reply and hope you can steer us in the right direction.





Hi Lesley, was the verbal discussion the only tie this issue was discussed?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

For Ben Jones Only


Hi Ben


Yes the verbal discussion was the only tie this issue was discussed. I clearly stated that holiday entitlement would have to be used for all days not worked between Christmas & New Year period. She is saying that she remembers the discussion but did not think it related to her. Their was no one else in the office at the time except the 2 of us.






An employer is legally entitled to force its employees to take holidays at specified periods. However, for this to be legally acceptable they need to give them a minimum notice period, which has to be at least twice as long as the holiday to be taken. So if you wanted to make an employee take 7 days off over Christmas, you should have told them of this at least 14 days before the first day of this holiday. As long as you gave them that minimum notice period then you could have forced them to take this time off as part of their holiday allowance.

As to the issue with the contract you would have been legally obliged to issue a written statement of employment particulars within 2 months of them starting working for you. This is not a contract but its contents will be similar. You are potentially in breach if you did not issue this but they can't just make a claim against you for it and can only realistically do so if they have another claim, such as unfair dismissal or discrimination, which is not the case here.

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.

For Ben Jones Only


Hi Ben


Thank you for your help in this matter. It is really appreciated.



My pleasure