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      Can your boss legally reject a holiday request, even though you’ve booked flights?

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      We’ve all been tempted before. You start browsing flights to exotic locations on Skyscanner and spot a bargain. You want to book them before they increase in price but you haven’t submitted a holiday request yet. Can your boss legally reject your holiday request even though you have booked the flights? Alan Price, CEO and HR expert at HR software firm, BrightHR explains…

      One common misconception many employees have is that they can take annual leave whenever they want. This isn’t the case and employers can set a maximum cap on the number of employees that are on leave at the same time to ensure there is adequate cover.  If a request for leave is made which would breach those rules, employers can deny the request.

      This rule can apply to employees that have already booked flights. Rejecting a leave request in this situation is not likely to be welcome news to the employee so employers should attempt to find a compromise whilst emphasising that the employee must follow correct processes for requesting leave in future. 

      The key to avoiding this scenario is to make sure that everyone knows the rules on requesting annual leave including that requests must be approved before employees book anything. Employers should refer to these rules in their annual leave policy and point out to employees that no holiday bookings should be made before a request has been approved. 

      If an employee calls in sick during the exact dates of a rejected leave request, suspicions will no doubt be raised. Employers should make no immediate assumptions and must apply their normal sickness absence rules which may include consideration of whether the sickness is genuine.

      If, after the investigation, evidence suggests the employee was faking the illness, this is likely to be seen as a disciplinary offence and the disciplinary procedure should begin.

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