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Taking time out?
I always get lots of queries at this time of year about annual leave. Employees are, quite understandably, asking to take time off to go on holiday or simply for childcare during the school holidays. But making sure you deal with requests properly is very important to avoid any accusations of unfairness or even discrimination, so making sure that you have a well-publicised policy in place is very important.

Employees have a right to have a minimum of 5.6 weeks of paid leave every year (or 12.07% of hours worked for those on a zero-hours contract), but the employer has the right to agree when that leave is taken. Most employers work on a “first come, first served” basis for applications to take leave, but by specifying that it has to be in writing will provide you with a documentary record should any disputes arise later.

The best place to set out the policy is in your employee handbook so that everyone has access to it. It is also a good idea to be clear about who makes the decisions; how much leave an employee can take at any one time; that the employee should not book to travel until they have received confirmation that their application has been accepted; and how to deal with situations where the employee is sick during their annual leave and what proof you require.

So if you want to avoid arguments about who takes their leave when – and what to do if someone phones in “sick” on dates when their leave request was previously refused, ask your HR adviser to ensure that you have a robust policy in place. Then you can have your own holiday without worrying about your business! If you would like more information or have any specific questions about the subject, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Posted on 25 May 2017

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