Thank you. I will explain how the law on holidays works. According to the Working Time Regulations 1998 employers have the authority to decide if and when their employees take their holidays. There are specific requirements dealing with the length of notice that must be given in relation to this and they can be summarised as follows:
• If an employee wants to take holiday they must give the employer notice which is at least twice as long as the time they want off. For example if they want to use up 5 days holiday from their allowance they must submit their request at least 10 calendar days before they want the holiday to start. However, even if this notice is given, it does not guarantee that the holiday request will be granted
• If the employer wants to reject that request, they must give the employee notice which is at least as long as the holiday they had requested to take. So in the same example of an employee wishing to take 5 days holiday, the employer can reject that request if they advise the employee at least 5 calendar days before the holiday was due to be taken.
• An employer can also force their employees to take holidays at a time decided by the employer. To do this the employer must give the employee notice which is at least twice as long as the holiday to be taken. So continuing with the same example, the employer must give 10 calendar days notice to the employee if they want them to take 5 days leave.
The employer therefore has an unconditional right to reject a holiday request or force the employees to take holidays at a specific time, as long as they give the correct amount of notice, in accordance with the Working Time Regulations.
One issue that sometimes arises is what happens if the employee is unable to take their annual holiday allowance in the current holiday year and end up having untaken days at the end of the year. A recent European case confirmed that in these circumstances the employee does not lose their entitlement to leave and the employer will have an obligation to remind them that they have the outstanding leave in place. If the employer reminds the employee but the leave remains untaken, they may lose it, but if the employer does nothing and the leave is not taken, the employee should be able to carry it over.
Does this answer your query?