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Can he be forced to use all his leave ?(14 Posts)
DP is a full time salaried member of staff at his work. They get six weeks holiday a year running on the financial year. They close for 2.5 weeks over Christmas so he always has to keep some leave for that. It's a manual, outdoor job but not a builder / tradesman.
His boss has, in the last few weeks, told him the site will be closed completely for building work / refurbishment for 6-8 weeks from late September. I'm trying to find rules on being forced to use up leave or going on unpaid. We've already booked our summer holiday and usually both save some leave for a winter sun break in March. He wouldn't have enough leave to cover the whole shutdown even without Christmas or any other holidays but I don't know if employees can be made to use up all remaining leave and be unpaid the rest of the time or not. Anyone know ? I think he should be just paid as normal because it's not his fault or decision to not be working.
Nature of his job means they can't work anywhere else, from home etc. If they can't be on site, they can't work.
What does his contract say?
It seems completely unreasonable to expect employees to take this amount of time off unpaid/from their leave allowance st this kind of notice (because holidays are often booked in advance).
Has the company given any indication of what they'll do? Depending on the number of employees it could cost them £££ to keep paying people, so I'd also be worried that theyd lay people off & then take them back once open again.
Assuming his contract has no specific stipulation on directed leave, the employer has the right to do this so long as they give twice the leave period in notice. For example, he’s been asked to take six weeks of leave. They must give twelve weeks of notice, which they have done.
This is outlined in Regulation 15(2) of the Working Time Regulations 1998.
On your second issue - the cost of leave. Unless his contract provides for unpaid or reduced pay lay off, then he is entitled to be paid in full over that period. If the employer isn’t paying, and doesn’t have their own payment scheme, he is only entitled to statutory guarantee pay (£140 per three months, essentially) so long as he has been employed there for more than one month, and has not refused alternative work. It is rarely financially viable, so I would advise seeking alternative employment if he isn’t going to be paid in full.
Citizens Advice can help you understand his contract better, and they are free to access.
”His boss has, in the last few weeks, told him the site will be closed completely for building work / refurbishment for 6-8 weeks from late September.”
Has his boss actually said they plan to deduct pay in respect of the closure? Or are you assuming that will be the case?
It’s fine for them to require staff to use outstanding holiday for a closure. Presumably his leave for your summer holiday has already been approved before you booked it- has his boss actually said he plans to cancel that?
If your DH is willing and able to turn up to work, then he should be paid in full unless there is a lay off clause in his contract- is there?
You do not have the absolute right to choose when you take your holiday and your employer can tell you when to take your leave.
If you do not have enough paid leave left over to be able to take these weeks as holiday, your employer can require you to stay away from work without pay, but only if your contract or holiday policy clearly allows this.
Your DP needs to have a careful read of his contract and the company holiday policy to see if this is allowed or not.
If the contract does cover it then you'll just have to suck it up - depending on what the contract actually says.
If the contract is silent on this issue then he would need to bring it up with the company as I believe that they cannot require him to stay away without pay. (I'm not a lawyer, this is just my understanding of the situation)
Thanks everyone. I know there's no right to take leave when you want, he wouldn't have that much off at Christmas by choice (we don't have have kids) for example. But for me it seems there's a difference between a seasonal shutdown and refurbishment work. Especially as the period is his entire annual leave allowance, at least.
His contract doesn't have anything about reduced pay, lay off etc. There's only a few salaried employees the rest are short term contract, zero hours etc.
His boss is a nice enough guy but not the most organised so the only conversation so far is that the work is being done (they're part of a bigger company so his boss isn't the final decision maker
for this)..... pressed send too soon
We've just been discussing it because I asked DP what was going to happen and he said he didn't know. I'm a civil servant and we could work at home or in a different office if there was an issue like this so not something I'm familiar with.
@sergeilavrov but he doesn't have six weeks of leave to take. He's already taken / had approval for 2, and he needs another 2 for Christmas. That's my point, I'm worried he's going to be told he has to use the remaining two and the rest unpaid meaning no more leave until next April and losing more than month's pay.
Actually, the 'refurbishment' aspect of this may well serve you well in a tribunal, or with his trade union if he belongs to one. Lay off pay is specifically for periods where there is no work available, due to business conditions, not for what may well be a decision by the employer to update the workplace. Sorry I missed that... bit slow of me! Speak to Citizens Advice, and make sure to go over that detail specifically. He should receive pay.
Given that it's safe to assume the site will still be closed over Christmas, no employee will have sufficient leave for this. So I think there must be a bit more to this, e.g. more leave given this year, or this being more of a request to try and schedule holidays over that period of refurbishment where possible. Hope you get some clarifications that help you stop worrying!
”I'm worried he's going to be told he has to use the remaining two and the rest unpaid meaning no more leave until next April and losing more than month's pay.”
Why are you worried that will happen? Has anything been said to indicate that?
@flowery because his work has a history of going for the cheapest option. And whilst I'm aware we're not joined at the hip but I'm not going to be amused if we can't go on holiday in the winter, have our usual long weekend for my birthday etc. because his employers have stored up years worth of maintenance and finally realised it's all got to be done in one go.
@sergeilavrov thanks, it's definitely not about availability of work. They would normally be open then albeit quieter, Christmas is about there being less or no work. It's an outdoor leisure industry job so less call for it in mid December !!
DP would be involved in regular maintenance work in the low season but this is more significant stuff that needs specialist workers and they won't be able to be there for safety reasons, never mind have customers.
Do they have a history of denying their workers statutory rights? If your DH is ready and willing and able to work, they need to pay him and can’t make him take unpaid leave without a lay off clause.
The only thing they could potentially do which might affect you is cancel future holiday already approved. But there’s no reason to think he’ll be forced to take unpaid leave.