Summer Holiday Guidance

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The summer holiday period is upon us again shortly and this is a really busy time for employers receiving leave requests. With working parents juggling childcare with school holidays can become a nightmare just for the parent it can also become a little bit of a headache for business employers as it can be difficult balancing everyone’s requests.

Trying to balance work and childcare for several weeks can be hard for many families, especially at a time when other colleagues may also want to book leave. If you’re an employee, do you know what time off you are entitled to? Are there other options that may be possible, such as flexible working?

Employers can struggle to grant all their employees the leave they have asked for at popular holiday times, while still meeting their business needs. If you are an employer, have you considered allowing flexible working? Do you know what “time off for dependants” is?

Whether you are an employer or an employee, we have tried to answer your questions about granting and taking time off during the busy summer period.

Can someone take three weeks holiday during the school summer break?

As long as the employer agrees to the request then yes, the employer will look at the levels of staff off at any one time and they may agree to someone taking three weeks leave. However, they can also refuse this request if too many people are off. The employer should have a policy regarding when leave can be taken, how many people can be off at any one time etc. Employers should be fair and consistent with all staff when considering requests.

Can an annual leave request be refused?

Yes, employees have the right to statutory annual leave but the employer can say when leave can or cannot be taken. Some organisations have shutdowns when employees have to take leave, others may stop people taking leave at certain times of the year during busy periods.

What is the current annual leave entitlement?

Most workers, whether part-time or full-time, are legally entitled to 5.6 weeks’ paid annual leave. Additional annual leave may be agreed as part of a worker’s terms and conditions of employment. If a worker does a five-day week, they are entitled to 28 days of leave. If they work a three-day week, the entitlement is 16.8 days of leave. This can include the bank holidays, there is no statutory right to bank or public holidays.

Does someone have a right to take time off if their childminding arrangements break down?

The legal right is to reasonable “time off for dependants”, which can give you time off to deal with emergencies. This would be unpaid and would normally expect to last one or two days (or what is considered to be reasonable) so other arrangements can be put in place. Some employers may suggest the use of annual leave or special leave which the employer may give with pay.

Can a flexible working request cover just the school summer holidays?

If a request for flexible working is made the employer will need to agree to any new work pattern, however once agreed it will make a permanent change to the terms and conditions of employment. Any other arrangements for a temporary change to work patterns may be negotiated between employer and employee.

Are employees entitled to pay if unable to get to work because of a travel delay?

There is no legal right for staff to be paid by an employer for travel delays. However, employers may have contractual, collective or custom and practice arrangements in place for this. Discretionary payment for travel disruption might also be used.