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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
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I booked a 3week holiday with my family and confirmed my holiday

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I booked a 3week holiday with my family and confirmed my holiday with my employer 4 months ago.
I am due to go next month and today they tell me I can't go
It has cost us £10000+ and the flights in business class are non refundable
I have told my employer I have to go as it's my sons birthday
Where do I stand?

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. what reason has your employer given for not letting you take this booked hoilday

Customer: I was told today that they didn't realise I had booked that period of time
Customer: we go 10 July and return 28 July. We are going to Florida.
Customer: told me I could go on 10th but have to return on the 14th which is ridiculous
Ben Jones :

has you company got holiday booking forms or was just arranged with your manager

Customer: We have an electronic calendar which we book our dates in and I have completed this and had it approved at the very beginning.
Customer: they are doing the July rota this week and based on this have demanded I cancel my holiday
Ben Jones :

Ok thank you leave it with me I need to look up a few things and then get my advice ready.I will post back on here when done there is no need to wait and you will receive an email when I have responded. I have a meting and will be of line for a few hours I will get my advice ready for you for latter this evening regards ben

Customer: Thanks
Ben Jones :

Many thanks for your patience. Once the employer formally approves your holiday request, they cannot retract it, unless there was a specific right to do so contained in your contract or other contractually-binding policy. It would also depend whether you followed the correct booking procedure – for example if you used a non-standard procedure to request the leave, the employer could now state that you did not use an approved process and as such the leave cannot be granted. However, assuming you followed the approved procedure and the request was granted by the employer, the leave is now binding and you must be allowed to take it. This is especially the case if it is due to their error that they did not realise what dates you had booked.


It is important to note that the employer cannot stop you from going on holiday – you can still go, especially considering you have already booked the tickets. What they can do however is treat this as unauthorised absence from work and then discipline you. It is then a matter of what the outcome is as to how you deal with it. If they just issue a warning you can appeal that and decide whether you just accept it at the expense of still being able to take the holiday.


If you are dismissed, then you can again appeal but then you may also consider making a claim for unfair dismissal in the employment tribunal to challenge their actions and seek compensation. This claim can only be made if you have at least 2 years’ service though so hopefully you satisfy that criteria.


Hope this clarifies your position?

Customer: Thank you for this.
Customer: can you advise that the employer has stated that I am taking too many days in any one time.
Customer: Snd that they have never allowed that for anyone before. My argument is that I have requested via the online portal and it has been approved accordingly. I have been employed almost 5 years with this organisation so length of employment is not the issue.
Customer: Can I quote this to them? That legally they cannot retract my specific holiday dates?
Customer: the employer now states that they didn't know I was going away for such a long period and they do not allow in any one time, plus another employee has requested holiday leave at the same time as I have already and I suspect that is why they are acting in this way.
Customer: i have requested my holiday at least 4 months ago and it has been confirmed since then (I have this in writing on the system and the dates clearly show me as on leave)
Ben Jones :

Hi, there is no maximum days' holiday you are restricted to taking, if you wanted to and it was approved you can take your whole year's allowance in one go. The law does not restrict you - the employer may but that is for them to determine and to advise you before granting your leave request.

You are indeed allowed to tell them that once the holiday has been approved, the law does not provide for a process t cancel it. Where an employer has refused to permit a worker to take their statutory holiday, they can seek just and equitable compensation. You could presumably argue that this includes the cost of the holiday, although I have not seen or heard cases going that far.

Ben Jones :

Hello, I see you have accessed and read my answer to your query. Please let me know if this has answered your original question or if you need me to clarify anything else for you in relation to this? I just need to know whether to close the question or not? Thanks

Customer: Hi
Customer: thNkbuoi
Customer: thank you Ben
Customer: please close this as I know where I stand with them now
Customer: U
Ben Jones :

Thanks will do, you can actually do this by selecting a smiley face from the options here, Many thanks

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