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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
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i work offshore in the north sea and i put a request in for

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i work offshore in the north sea and i put a request in for time off. i was told that i would not be able to get the requested time off unless i got someone to cover for me. i was wondering what the legal standing is?

Ben Jones : Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Do you have a contract or policy which deals with this?

No, the company i work for has nothing written into my contract about finding cover for time off. as for the company policy, i'm not sure on that. the reason i wanted time off was to do my NEBOSH course which i will be paying out of my own pocket and although the course is not on my training matrix for safety rep i think it will help me fufill my roles and responsibilites as a safety rep.


furthermore, it seems that the company i work for want me and others to find cover from our back to backs, we work a 3 week offshore, 3 week onshore rota, so that they do not have to pay for agency workers and deal with the logistics of getting persons out to the rig.

Ben Jones :

Hello, as far as the law stands an employer has the right to reject an employee’s request for annual leave as long as they give them sufficient notice. The notice required must be as long as the holiday to be taken, so for example if you wanted to take 10 days’ holiday the employer can reject your request by advising you at least 10 days before the leave was due to be taken. They do not need to supply a reason for doing so and as long as there is no discriminatory reason behind it (for example linked to gender, race, religion, etc), their rejection would be legal. This is even if they want you to find a replacement cover for the time you need off – it is not a legal requirement for the employer to try and find such cover for you so they could reject your request if they have asked you to find cover but you have been unable to do so. There is no discrimination involved there and as such as long as the correct notice has been given, I am afraid it is legally possible for them to reject your request.


Thanks for that Ben. That's cleared uo a few things,

Ben Jones :

you are most welcome, all the best

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