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Employer won't allow me to take holiday

(26 Posts)
Mupski Thu 29-Sep-11 20:57:43

I've just returned to work following a year of maternity. I've had various issue with my employer since announcing my pregnancy, during maternity leave and now upon my return. The latest issue is holiday. I did raise the topic during a return to work meeting and was given indication that there was going to be trouble so I should hav been more prepared!

My boss then did not make any mention of holiday allowance when documenting the terms of my return to work.I know it was silly of me not to raise the topic again and get everything confirmed bu,t as I was asking for reduced hours, I felt that I shouldn't rock the boat too much by being too demanding.

Our holiday runs Jan-Jan and I have put in my request for holiday and also asked if I can carry some days over to next year as I feel that 23 days holiday is an awful lot to take before the end of December - especially when considering I work a four day week now.

Initially my request was simply ignored. I chased up and received a reponse which basically states that I cannot carry days over, cannot take more than two week at one time, cannot take holiday when my boss is not on holiday as it will leave him without support etc. I read it that I just cannot take the holiday!

Any advice? I am right in thinking that I accrue holiday as normal whilst on maternity leave aren't I? How do other companies organise holiday for people returning from maternity leave?

Perhaps I am being completely unrealistic to expect that my employer would allow me to take holiday having just returned from a year off!


Mupski Thu 29-Sep-11 21:03:55

Sorry for awful typing BTW, I always struggle with my iPhone keypad!

Grevling Thu 29-Sep-11 21:47:02

You accrue holiday as normal while on mat leave. Other than that companies can direct you to take holiday as they see fit as long as you get the stat minimum per year.

Ponders Thu 29-Sep-11 21:51:01

if it's not possible for you to either take it all before end of Dec, or carry it over, will they pay you for it in lieu?

Ponders Thu 29-Sep-11 21:52:32

I used to work for a company where it was practically impossible to take all your holidays when you wanted, & you couldn't carry over, & if you couldn't manage to take it within the holiday year that was just tough.

& this was a large national company hmm

BikeRunSki Thu 29-Sep-11 21:52:59

You also accrue bank holidays.

elliott Thu 29-Sep-11 22:09:55

My employer always just added the accrued holiday to the end of maternity leave - so you'd be paid for the last bit of maternity leave which was most welcome smile
Does your company have a written policy about carrying forward days? We are only allowed to carry forward a week and have to take it within the first three months of the leave year. We can't take pay in lieu.
What about the other things they are saying - are they part of an existing policy or are they something new they have just sprung on you?

workshy Thu 29-Sep-11 22:15:22

we normally tag holiday onto the end of mat leave

it is deemed the employee's responsibility to book their own holidays but it can be refused depending on the needs of the business (not allowed time off at christmas or easter -boo!)

we normally allocate holiday to those that don't mind when they have it, it's usually the ones that are very specific about when they want to take hols that miss out as they tend to want the same times as a few others and we can only have 3 people off at any one time

bringinghomethebacon Thu 29-Sep-11 22:18:11

I think it probably would have been better to take 2 weeks or so at the end of your maternity leave as paid before you came back, but never mind you are back now. There must be 23 days you can take between now and the end of the year without taking more than 2 weeks off and not clashing with your boss surely? They won't be happy with it but you have to take it. It doesn't sound like it is impossible because I can't imagine that your boss has so much holiday booked that it is preventing you from taking your holiday. Or why don't you ask to take a day's leave a week between now and Christmas, that's 12 days worth. Plus an extra two weeks (6 days) holiday somewhere, and then another 5 days (which would be nearly another 2 weeks on the days you work, and as you are already down to a three day week by using a day a week until Xmas) would make 23 days as I work it out. Or if they will not let you take it you should ask for it to be paid.

If you raised it at the back to work meeting they really should have thought about this sooner.

Mupski Thu 29-Sep-11 22:53:06

I'm not even going to attempt to claim bank holiday aswell but thanks for letting me know.

Bringinghomethebacon, the issue is they only want me to take holiday at the same time as my boss. I'm his PA so the excuse if that he will have no secretarial support if I'm away and he's not.

I have thought about suggesting pay in lieu but I dont imagine it's something that they would be happy to do. It does seem like the best solution all round though in my opinion.

I know that tagging holiday on to the end of maternity leave is probably the best course of action in most circumstances but I thought that a) there was no obligation for the holiday to then be paid holiday; and b) as I would have then had longer than a year off, my employer would not be obligated to offer me my old job back.

Workshy, that's a good point. Perhaps I wil try being completely flexible and asking them to specify when I should take my leave. Ultimately I'm happy to take it whenever they are happy for me to take it so that could help things along?

I guess I'll have to accept that if they continue to be awkward, I may lose some of the holiday and there isn't much I do. They have just been so awful since I announced my pregnancy, it's been such a battle every step of the way. sad. It's a male dominated company and there has only ever been one other pregnancy in their history!

elliott Thu 29-Sep-11 23:10:53

This isn't a new job, right? So what was the arrangement before maternity leave? What does your contract say?
Sadly your assumptions about leave at the end of maternity leave are incorrect- you'd still have returned to work before the end of the year, you'd just have been on holiday. Shame you didn't check it out here...
Only taking leave when your boss does sounds ludicrous. Must be a very difficult situation for though.

Mupski Thu 29-Sep-11 23:31:06

No it's not a new job, I've worked for them for 9 years and never had holiday issues before. My contract states the amount of days I am entitled prior to my change of hours and how they are accrued om a monthly basis. I have nothing in writing that states allowance now that my hours have changed.

Policy is that 5 days may be carried over to the following year, more with the permission of a manager. Looking at the holiday schedule, most carried 10 days over to this year, maximum was 17! I have carried over more than 5 days on many occasions previously.

Contract says nothing about having to take leave at same time as my boss etc but of course they can refuse a request for numerous reasons and it feels like they are using them all on me!

My thoughts are that I could ask for a chat with boss on Monday and present the following options:

1. Take holiday as I've requested, carrying extra days over
2. Carry no days over and he tells me when I can take 23 days this year
3. I take only the required days between Christmas and new year and am paid for the rest

What do you think?

LoveBeingAMummyAgain Fri 30-Sep-11 07:58:42

I think also asking why you cannot carry over when other mos have is a valid question.

HappyAsASandboy Fri 30-Sep-11 08:28:19

I would also make a big issue if their new rule about only taking leave when your boss does. If it wasn't that way before maternity leave, then they can't make it that way after (you're entitled to return on same T&Cs). If you let it go now, you could be stuck with it forever, which could mean no holidays when you want them.

Mupski Fri 30-Sep-11 20:12:20

Thanks all. I'll go in and have a calm chat on Monday and will raise all of the points you have kindly given.

I'll let you know how it goes!

bringinghomethebacon Fri 30-Sep-11 22:08:04

Thats ridiculous re only taking time off at the same time as your boss! If not the rule before why are they imposing it now? seems a sneaky way to prevent you from taking your holiday accrued during maternity leave. How did they cope before you went on ML when you took holiday at a different time to your boss? I never take time off at the same time as my PA so she can firefight while I am away, and when she is away someone else does my typing etc, it is shared amongst other PAs or they get a temp.

Re holiday at the end of a maternity leave:
It certainly can be done and is paid. It means that your official return date is say 1 September, but you are then on holiday (as if you were at work, but on holiday) for say 25 working days or whatever your entitlement is, and get paid as normal, but don't actually come into the office until the end of the holiday period. So many people actually get 13 months off work because of that. Your maternity leave ends at the end of 12 months so there is no problem with being on maternity leave in excess of a year. It's not rocket science for most HR departments and they should have suggested it if it was going to be a problem to take your holiday in another way.

If you have returned to the same job, then I think they have to keep your terms the same.
You should absolutely push for the bank holidays, you are legally entitled to them.

There are some useful pages on the website, I would just print those off and put them infront of your HR person.

As for only taking time off when your boss does, that is bullshit.

Bump this in the morning and I'm sure flowery will have some useful info for you.

Meant to say - I didn't even go back after maternity leave, but I had still accrued my holiday and bank holidays. I got full pay for the 2 months after my mat leave ended to receive my full entitlement.

Cupcakeaddict Sat 01-Oct-11 07:34:41

If you are going back 4 days a week, could you ask your boss to pay you 5 days a week for 23 weeks so effectively you stay full time for another 6 months but take for example every friday off? I know they have said that they don't want you to carry your entitlement over to next year, but this may suit them?

kblu Sat 01-Oct-11 07:45:18

Ok, I work for a small firm where i'm PA to the boss and he once mentioned it would be a good idea if I were off at the same time as him but I reminded him that surely it would be better if I was here to hold the fort whilst he was away as one of us is better than neither of us! Aren't there other PA's that cover your work whilst you are away? This is what happens where I work. If i'm off the work either gets left till I get back and only urgent stuff accommodated or if one of the other PA's isn't that busy she will help out.
As it happens now i've come back from ML I do a job share which works out much better because when one of us is on holiday at least he has cover half the week.
I think he is being totally unreasonable.
I took all my accrued annual leave before my ML.
We are not allowed to carry over our leave either.
We are also not allowed to take holiday the week before Xmas as it's our busiest time.
I hope you get it sorted.

Mupski Mon 03-Oct-11 18:53:31

A little update...
Had a chat with boss today. No longer have to take holiday at the same time as him so at least they've seen sense on that part. I've put a suggestion forward that I carry 8 days over, use 10 days holiday this year and then am paid for 15 days holiday in lieu. In the end I included the Bank Holiday entitlement too.

As you can probably guess they were far from happy. I've put my proposal in writing and have to wait for a decision.

They topped up my maternity pay for the first couple of months of my maternity leave and it was suggested during our chat that I now shouldn't expect to be able to take holiday as well! Fair enough maybe if that was the agreement at the time but it wasn't so I don't think it's on to try to use that against be now.

Let's hope that agree to it all now.

Ponders Mon 03-Oct-11 20:53:14

8 + 10 + 15 = 33, not 23 confused

Ponders Mon 03-Oct-11 20:53:37

that would make them a bit unhappy wink

Mupski Mon 03-Oct-11 21:03:37

Sorry Ponders, perhaps quite confusing. I wasn't aware that I was also entitled to bank holidays until other kind posters pointed it out to me. Initially I felt that I couldn't ask for these as well but had a change of heart before going into my meeting.

I just said that I had looked into things in more detail and was now aware that I was also entitled to Bank Holidays - which is the truth!

Mupski Mon 03-Oct-11 21:05:41

Oh and thanks for doing the maths for me wink

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