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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 73488
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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Is a company entitled to force me to take unpaid holiday

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Hello ! Is a company entitled to force me to take unpaid holiday leave during the notice period? In the conditions where they told me that I have 14 days accrued transferred from last year.
JA: Have you discussed this with a manager or HR? Or with a lawyer?
Customer: I have tried to contact manager and HR but no answer from them
JA: What is your employment status? Are you an employee, freelancer, consultant or contractor? Do you belong to a union?
Customer: full time employed in the UK
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: I have previously asked for pay in lieu of holiday, however they refused and stated that in order to train another employee, I must step back and take 2 weeks paid holiday during my notice period. Then the reassignment acceptance letter said "You have requested holiday payment and you will receive your holiday". At the end of the month, I did not receive payment for the holiday and realised it was an unpaid holiday, which is contrary to what they told me (that I am using my accrued holiday)
Customer: replied 10 days ago.

Hello, I’m Ben. It’s my pleasure to assist you today. I may also ask for some preliminary information to help me determine the legal position.

How long have you worked there for?  Please note this is not always an instant service and I may not be able to reply immediately. However, rest assured that I am dealing with your question and will get back to you today. Thanks

Customer: replied 10 days ago.
I understand, apologies!I have been working for 6 months there

Thank you. You say it will be unpaid leave but if they are asking you to take it out of your holiday allowance, then surely you will be paid holiday pay still?

Customer: replied 10 days ago.
The holiday year stated in the contract is 1st of April to 31st of March. I have contacted my manager on the 27th of March telling her that I would prefer the pay in lieu of holiday. She got back to me only on the 31st of March, telling me that they refuse and they would rather get my holidays transferred to next holiday year. Motivating that my replacement needs training, I have to step back and take my holidays from the 9th of April to the 23rd (last working day as per 1 month notice letter)
Customer: replied 10 days ago.
I agreed and asked her to confirm in a written email that I am taking my paid holidays. She came back with a letter stating that I "Requested holiday pay and will receive my holiday", which from what I understand would mean being paid until the last serving day even if I were on holiday. I have received in the end of the month the salary just until the 9th of April, which was the last day before the holidays
Customer: replied 10 days ago.
Just to mention she told me repetitively that I do not have any other option, so therefore they forced me to take this holiday and then did not pay for it

Thank you very much for clarifying. First of all, I am sorry to hear about the situation you have found yourself in.

Usually, the ‘use it or lose it’ principle applies or holidays and if there are holidays that remain outstanding at the end of a holiday year they would be lost, unless an agreement, or law, carries them over to the next holiday year. This is what appears to have happened here and approval was issued by the employer for that.

If you then took these holidays, even in the new holiday year, you are entitled to be paid your normal wages. Failure to do so would amount to an unlawful deduction of wages and you can consider a claim in the Employment Tribunal to recover what you are owed.

Before a claim can be made against the employer in the Employment Tribunal, the affected employee would be required to participate in a process known as ‘early conciliation’, which is administered through the Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS).

The purpose of this process is to allow ACAS to mediate between the employee and their employer to agree on an out-of-court settlement in order to avoid the need for legal action in the Employment Tribunal. The employer does not have to engage in these discussions and the process is voluntary for them. If they refuse to participate, or the conciliation is unsuccessful, the employee will be issued with a certificate by ACAS allowing them to make a claim.

However, if a settlement is reached, the employee would officially agree not to proceed with the claim in return for the agreed financial settlement. Other terms can also be included as part of the settlement, such as an agreed reference.

In order to initiate the early conciliation procedure, ACAS must be contacted, either online by filling in the following form (, or by phone on 0300(###) ###-#### They will explain the process and what happens next and get the ball rolling on your behalf.

If the early conciliation process was not successful, ACAS have issued a certificate to confirm that and you still wanted to make a formal claim in the Employment Tribunal, the claim can be initiated via the following link:

Ben Jones and other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you

Hopefully, I have answered your query in a way that is simple and easy to understand. If anything remains unclear, I will be more than happy to clarify it for you. In the meantime, thank you once again for using our services.