Can an employer force you to take holidays at a certain time?

(14 Posts)
DecorHate Thu 03-Dec-09 17:52:37

Background - dh's company introduced a new policy earlier this year whereby everyone had to take at least one two-week block of holiday during the year. We had already booked our summer holiday which was 10 nights though with weekend & bank holiday dh only needed 6 days off. The rest of his holidays were needed for trips to see our families (who all live abroad) and days here & there. Dh's line manager agreed that dh did not adhere to the new policy this year.

However, the company has now said that anyone who didn't take a two-week block this year must now do so before the end of March 2010. As the holiday year starts in January and Easter isn't until April, this is F* all use to us as a family. We can't really afford to take a foreign holiday at Feb half-term and the thought of going away somewhere in the UK at that time of year isn't exactly appealing - plus the kids will only have one week off...

I am really peed off with this - if dh does have to take 2 weeks off before the end of March we will not be able to go to visit our families as often as usual next year - or I will have to do the trips on my own...

DecorHate Thu 03-Dec-09 17:54:01

Oh and btw there is no business reason why holidays need to be taken at a particular time...

I used to work for a company which required staff to take a 2-week block of holiday, but it was just so that everyone took a "proper" break, rather than just bits and pieces. Could he try challenging them about the point of the policy, and argue that he did take a 2 week block of holiday, even though it didn't need 10 days of his annual leave?

madwomanintheattic Thu 03-Dec-09 18:01:46

quite normal in some circs, but depends on contract/ t& c's etc.

random 'long break' policy (ie not to do with busy periods/ company shut-down) is usually introduced as a welfare measure, if it makes you feel any better - ie the organisation has realised that research shows that employees who take a substantial (ie two week) break away from work are more relaxed, less likely to need time off sick/ stress/ depression, and are, er, probably more profitable wink.

so, it's for your own good, and all that. grin employees who don't take vacations, or only take a few days off here and there when forced, are at greater risk of factors above. or something. the company has probaby got some random kpi in place and has to have at least 90% of staff following said directive each year.

it's a bit of a pita. but then i'm used to working for organsiations where you have to take your leave, and if you don't, you lose it.

madwomanintheattic Thu 03-Dec-09 18:02:53

<desperately trying not to correct typo after reading other thread>

abbierhodes Thu 03-Dec-09 18:09:36

Most people have to use their holiday by the end of March. You get next year's holiday then, so you could take a two week block out of next years allowance. Am I missing something? What's the problem?

lou031205 Thu 03-Dec-09 18:18:59

abbierhodes, the holiday year runs Jan to Dec, but OP's DH must use 2 weeks before March.

OP, yes they can dictate exactly when you take holiday as long as they give adequate notice.

See www.direct.gov.uk/en/Employment/Employees/Timeoffandholidays/DG_10029788

madwomanintheattic Thu 03-Dec-09 18:24:24

i get the impression this is to fill last years directive though - so he's in effect been given an extra 3 months to comply with the 2009 mandatory 2 week directive.

op, is he going to have to take another 2 weeks off this year to comply with the 2010 year's mandatory 2 week break? or is he continually going to be playing catch-up?

it's very common. jan - mar round these parts sees loads of people using up their leave so it doesn't vanish into the ether, largely because their admin is poor and they haven't bothered to take it.

DecorHate Thu 03-Dec-09 19:15:41

Thanks for explaining why they are likely to have done this! Dh does use up all his leave - and he does get a proper break for anyone who is worrying - it's just that because all our family lives abroad we like/need to take several shorter breaks in the year so the dcs can see their grandparents regularly, etc. So we usually take a 10 day "main" holiday, have at least one full week visiting families and then two-three long weekends visiting them at other times.

Dh is now going to see if they will stretch the rules a bit so he can take the last week of March & first week of April off so that at least he will be off for part of the Easter holidays...

MaHumbug Thu 03-Dec-09 21:19:29

DecorHate - is he in the Finance Industry? They all have to take a 2 week block of holiday to ensure there's no fraud going on.

I was going to post what MaHumbug said. I work for a high street bank and we have to take a two week block of holiday (ie be out of the business for a full 2 weeks) to comply with our insurance.

However, it is clearly written into our contracts and there is no requirement to book 10 days holiday to do this (which appears to be what your DH's company is requesting) as this would not work for part-time staff who may only work 5 days across a 2 week period for example, or when there are bank holidays used (as in you DH's case).

You may be able to add extra strength to your arguement if bank holidays are included as part of his annual leave entitlement as he's already using some of his entitlement on days specified by the business.

I'd say he's already complied with the policy if his company has the same rules as mine.

RibenaBerry Fri 04-Dec-09 08:20:56

Decorhate- I'm afraid that what others have said is right. Employers can dictate when you take your holiday, provided they follow the rules. Also, it sounds like he was given masses of warning about the introduction of this policy and effectively a dispensation for last year.

If he works in finance, the two week block is indeed to check for fraud (to see if any patterns emerge when someone is absent, or to give time for hidden trades to reveal themselves). He might be able to negotiate to push it over Easter though.

foxinsocks Fri 04-Dec-09 08:55:53

yes, our insurance policy (and in fact the insurance policy of any company who has finance staff and takes out crime protection) will dictate that finance staff take a 2 week block of holiday

GetOrfMoiLand Fri 04-Dec-09 09:07:17

Well, you learn something new every day (re finance industry).

I wish where I worked they introduced a mandatory 2 week leave. I have taken my leave in dribs and drabs this year and it has been awful (have not been able to take a longer break due to work pressures and a colleague being on extended jury service). I am NOT doing this again, I agree that a 2 week break does make a difference. Unfortunately I work for a company which tends to view holidays as a luxury hmm

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