Taking annual leave - should be up to me when surely??

(20 Posts)
mumandtwo Tue 17-Jun-14 09:59:28

I work as a support worker 18 hours a week. My client is going on holiday for a week and I've been told that I have to take a week if my holiday to cover that week. Does that seem right? Surely it's up to me when I take my holiday! I wanted to use most of my holiday to take in the summer hols and the week they're going is the week before they break up! There's nothing in my contract that covers this issue! Any advice would be much appreciated !!! X

flowery Tue 17-Jun-14 10:11:32

Are they your client or your employer? confused

Assuming they are your employer, then yes, as long as they give you sufficient notice, they can require you to take holiday at specific times. Perfectly normal. Many places have Christmas or summer shutdown periods, for example. Imagine if everyone in an office just decided to take their holiday at the same time!

How much notice have you been given?

mumandtwo Tue 17-Jun-14 10:30:48

They are my employer who is taking my client on holiday with them if that makes sense. I was told yesterday that it's the 11th July so I guess that's reasonable? Shame tho, I had plans for my hol hours. Thanks for your reply !!! X

drivenfromdistraction Tue 17-Jun-14 10:32:14

What does your contract say? For example, my nanny's contract says that she has to take half her annual leave at a time of our choosing, and half at a time of her own choosing. Both sides have to give 2 months notice of holiday dates.

mumandtwo Tue 17-Jun-14 12:10:42

My contract just says I have to give them 2 weeks notice, pretty vague and not very detailed. Tbh I can't complain, my employer is lovely and so is my client, the money's not great but they are usually very flexible if I need to finish early etc. I think I'll just have to accept that what they say is correct. It's just difficult working school hols when you're on your own with children isn't it and I wanted to use all my annual leave in school holidays, but I won't be able to do that now and that's what frustrating me! I don't want to take a week of my annual leave a week before the schools break up!!

drivenfromdistraction Tue 17-Jun-14 12:20:43

If your contract doesn't say that they can choose when you take your holidays (or any part of them) then you don't have to.

I think you should ask them to sit down and discuss with you. It's certainly not acceptable that they can just assume you will take holidays when they choose. (and I say that as an employer!)

You can have a nice, calm, friendly discussion about it. If I were you, I would say to your employer that you were a bit surprised by their request, because your understanding was that you choose your holiday dates and give them 2 weeks notice. Ask if you can sit down together and discuss it, so that everyone is on the same page.

Then, when you sit down, have a copy of your contract with the relevant information. You can both discuss. Be polite, friendly, but don't feel you have to give any ground. If they say 'but it would be more convenient for us if you have your holiday at this time' you can say, 'yes, I can see that, and I'd love to help, but that doesn't work for me.'

If you were hired through an agency, you could speak to the agency first.

flowery Tue 17-Jun-14 12:27:14

"If your contract doesn't say that they can choose when you take your holidays (or any part of them) then you don't have to."

That's simply not true. Yes if an employer has reason to believe they might need to specify holiday dates it would be sensible to include that in the contract but that doesn't mean no employer who doesn't specify that can do so.

Unexpected Tue 17-Jun-14 12:30:26

I assume this is like a case where you are employed by a parent (employer) to provide support to a child (client)? If your contract doesn't specifically say they can choose your holiday, I think they will find it very difficult to enforce. You say you wanted to take the majority of your holidays in school hold time - have you already applied for those weeks? Do you, in fact, have enough time left to take this week off?

BackforGood Tue 17-Jun-14 12:42:09

I think the same as driven - but I'm also surprised that you've not already had this discussion / booked the weeks you want (ie, in the school holidays) as they are only 5 weeks away. Surely if it's important to have holiday booked for a certain date (for either of you) then you'd have mentioned it some months ago?

flowery Tue 17-Jun-14 13:30:25

"If your contract doesn't specifically say they can choose your holiday, I think they will find it very difficult to enforce"

On what basis? That would only be the case if the contract specifically said the OP is entitled to choose her holiday, which would surprise me.

Contracts can give more rights than the law allows, but the position if the contract is silent on any matter would be the minimum the law gives.

All any employee is entitled to is a certain amount of holiday, the correct notice of refusal of a holiday request and the correct notice of required holiday.

mumandtwo Tue 17-Jun-14 16:08:59

I've only been employed by them since March and i am entitled to 101 hours a year holiday apparently. I have booked 54 hours of annual leave for the summer holidays 2 weeks ago, so that's already sorted . Now I will have to use 18 more hours because they are taking my client on holiday, so that will leave me with 29 hours left until April 2015. I was planning to take half term off in October (another 18 hours) and that will leave me with 11 hours left for Xmas and Feb half term instead of the 29 I would have had . I think I have the right to feel annoyed!! If I go sick I don't get paid for the first 3 days so that is not an option either, that is also a reason why I wanted to keep my holiday hours in case I was sick as I can't afford to not be paid!! Feel peed off.

fedupandtired Tue 17-Jun-14 16:40:08

If you wanted to take it another time could you perhaps take it unpaid? Or could they find you work elsewhere for part of your hours and take some unpaid or some annual leave? That's what tends to happen where I work (also for a care provider). No-one has to take annual leave but if they don't we just say they might not get their full contracted hours.

mumandtwo Tue 17-Jun-14 16:49:23

Well I've just noticed in my contract it says:" I may request that your holiday is taken during certain periods. This will be negotiated at the start of each leave year". So I guess that covers it then, damn!!! Oh well thanks for everyone's advice on this, much appreciated! Xxx

lougle Tue 17-Jun-14 17:00:38

I think it's important to stress what Flowery said above, as other people may read this thread:

Contracts can give more rights than the law allows, but the position if the contract is silent on any matter would be the minimum the law gives.

The law on holiday (taken from the Gov.uk site) is:

Employees are entitled to 5.6 weeks holiday, up to a maximum of 28 days.

They have the right to:
get paid for leave
build up (‘accrue’) holiday entitlement during maternity, paternity and adoption leave
build up holiday entitlement while off work sick
choose to take holiday at the same time as sick leave

The general notice period for taking leave is at least twice as long as the amount of leave a worker wants to take (eg 2 days’ notice for 1 day’s leave), unless the contract says something different.

An employer can refuse a leave request but they must give as much notice as the amount of leave requested, eg 2 weeks’ notice if the leave requested was 2 weeks.

Employers can:

tell their staff to take leave, eg bank holidays or Christmas
restrict when leave can be taken, eg at certain busy periods
There may be rules about this in the employment contract or it may be what normally happens in the workplace. The notice period for this is at least twice as long as the leave they want their staff to take.

In the case of the OP, she has been given over 3 weeks notice that she must take 1 week of leave.

HermioneWeasley Tue 17-Jun-14 20:29:18

Sigh. This is a specialist section, why do people who aren't specialists offer their opinions?

Flowery is, as ever, right. I've been on MN for 8 years now and she is always spot on. If there is ever conflicting advice, always listen to flowery.

lougle Tue 17-Jun-14 20:48:53

I don't think it is a specialist section. MNHQ make that very clear, in fact.

I agree with you that Flowery is always right, but no one should rely on advice given here as fact because it's just a forum.

Picturesinthefirelight Tue 17-Jun-14 20:59:53

As usual I agree with flowery.

I work in payroll & we have times ofvthe year eg 10 days over Christmas plus bank holidays when we close & employees have to take holiday

It's common practice in industry, education, & various other sectors.

MadScientistsRuleTheAsylum Tue 17-Jun-14 21:04:14

I used to have a job where we got 25 days plus bank holidays, but the company specified 21 of them as plant shutdown. We had no choice in these, leaving us with only 4 days a year we could choose.

mumandtwo Tue 17-Jun-14 21:59:58

Well thank you everyone , especially flowery, it's been very informative! I did try phoning the CAB and u can guess how that went - couldn't actually speak to anyone or make an appointment . Thank god for mumsnet xx

Paq Tue 17-Jun-14 22:01:19

Listen to Flowery and Hermione OP, they actually know what they are talking about.

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