Annual Leave: is your booking policy clear enough?

The school holidays, when the majority of staff wish to take their annual family holiday.

Michael Nadin, Employment Solicitor at Alsters Kelley LLP, explains the importance of a clear annual leave booking policy within the workplace, especially over the school holidays.

Whilst many businesses tend to be quiet at this time of year, with suppliers and customers alike sunning themselves on foreign beaches, employers should make sure that their holiday booking procedures clearly provide the right to refuse holiday requests should it prove necessary to ensure that sufficient levels of staffing are maintained throughout this period.

As long as employers act reasonably, have a clear annual leave booking policy (or complies with certain legal formalities where there is no contractual right or policy) then they are entitled to refuse requests for holiday.

Employers often adopt a “first come first serve” approach to holidays. This is usually seen as a fair way of allocating holiday and has the added advantage of encouraging employees to give plenty of notice of intended holiday. This gives the employer more time to plan.

The legislation surrounding an employer’s ability to refuse to carry over unused annual leave into subsequent holiday years in situations where employees have been unable to take their allocation (such as maternity leave and sickness absence) are particularly complicated and employers are urged to seek advice if they receive such requests.

If you would like Employment Law advice please contact Michael Nadin from our employment law team on 0844 561 0220 or email

Natasha Swan
Alsters Kelley Solicitors offer affordable legal services with a quality and reliability that you can trust. Based in Coventry, Leamington Spa and Nuneaton, we are one of the largest solicitors firms in Warwickshire and the West Midlands. We pride ourselves on offering general law services and have specialisims in Clinical Negligence, Immigration and Crime. Visit our website for the latest information or if you would like to contact the Firm.
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