The Right to Statutory Minimum Annual Leave
Written by Geoff Newman on 7/2/2010
It's important for employers to know that the right to statutory minimum annual leave is not absolute at all. If an employee applies or requests his or her annual outstanding holiday before the end of their leave period, the employer can refuse it. It is not guaranteed that he will get the leave because the employer may reject it on the grounds of being informed too late. It is required that an employee request his holidays a couple of weeks before the date of his leave application so that the employer is able to plan his schedule accordingly.
Another reason that the leave request could be refused is on the grounds of staffing problems. If an organisation is facing a busy schedule and requires maximum staff at work, holiday entitlement can be refused, as they may need the employee to work for them. Usually these sort of terms and conditions are discussed in the contract offered to the employee.
The employer should be able to state in the contract all the needs and requirements of holiday requests and should be able to explain to individuals beforehand that their leave entitlement is based upon the requirement of the business at that particular time, and if the company is short handed their holiday may be cancelled as the organisation would need them at that time. The employee must be aware of the fact that his or her request can be refused by the business.
But in many cases where the employee looses his annual leave days due to business requirements, this can be quite unreasonable. Unfair rejection or refusal of annual holiday leave may lead the employee to claim against the employer for treating unfairly, although this sometimes leads to constructive, unfair dismissal.
But this does not apply for individuals who are on sick leave, since an employer has to accommodate employees who have applied for sick leave. But it has been decided by the European Court of Justice that employees must be permitted to carry forward their annual leave if they have not taken the leave in that particular year. It is very important from the employee’s point of view to be aware of the whole situation and to realize whether he can or cannot claim against the company due to unfair annual leave refusal.
If an employee doesn’t give a 4-week notice before applying for the leave, and applies only a couple of days before the date for which he has claimed the holidays, in this situation the company has the rights to refuse his application because the employee didn’t follow the correct procedure of giving the notice before.