Spike in holiday requests as Covid restrictions ease and employees rush to book holidays
To pre-empt potential problems with competing requests, that may involve relatively short notice, with operational needs meaning that they cannot all be accommodated, it is essential that your rules on requesting holiday are set out clearly to the workforce, typically in a holiday policy.
The holiday policy can set out the process for making a request, including notice requirements. The policy can remind employees that requests can be turned down if:
- they cannot be accommodated for operational reasons, or
- the employee has provided insufficient notice.
If there is no set policy within your business regarding the process of holiday requests, the legal position is that an employee has to provide at least twice the amount of days’ notice as the amount of holidays they wish to take – e.g. if an employee wishes to take 4 days’ holiday, they have to provide the employer with at least 8 days’ notice.
Obviously, there will be times where the business is unable to grant an employee’s holiday request, regardless of notice, for example, another member of staff has already been granted time off for the same period or it is a particularly busy time for the business.
To refuse such a request, the business must serve counter-notice on the employee in question stating that the leave cannot be taken, as long as the counter-notice is given at least as many days before the holidays were due to start. For example, if an employee has requested 5 days’ holiday, the business must serve counter-notice at least 5 days before the date the holidays were due to start.