With Christmas and New Year right around the corner many employers will now be inundated with holiday requests from their employees.
Employers are therefore faced with striking a balance between having enough staff to deal with the festive rush and allowing hardworking employees to spend some quality time with their families, go on holiday or attend religious services.
During this season employers will also need to comply with the Working Time Regulations, the contract of employment, discrimination legislation and consider whether their holiday policies are up to date in order to avoid any potential claims in the New Year.
In the UK there is no right to have either Christmas Day, Boxing Day or New Year’s Day away from work or taken as paid time off unless the contract of employment allows otherwise. The employer also has the right to include public holidays as part of an employee’s 5.6 weeks annual leave entitlement.
During the festive period many employees will request the same days as holiday but unfortunately it may not be possible for everyone to take time off. Employers may prioritise employees with young children as it may be difficult for the employee to arrange childcare or employees with strong religious beliefs but to avoid bad will or a potential discrimination claim, the employer should have a transparent and fair annual leave policy as a tool for employees to use when booking time off.
Unfortunately, there is the occasional employee who seeks to extend their Christmas holiday with a sick day. However, every situation must be treated as genuine and dealt with in accordance with the businesses usual sickness policy. If there is any unauthorised absence or patterns in absence the business may wish to consider formal proceedings.
We hope our Christmas blogs have helped you over the festive period, if you need anymore advice on the employment topics covered please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team!