HR software and employment law specialist BrightHR has reported a 29% increase in annual leave requests made via its platform this week, compared with a week earlier as UK workers look to take some last-minute leave and enjoy the heatwave.
Alan Price, an employment law expert and CEO at BrightHR, commented on the last-minute holiday request increase: “Like most business owners, you probably see a spike in holiday requests anytime we approach a heatwave. While your employees’ holiday plans might be on hold, it’s still crucial for them to take time away from work. Annual leave gives your people downtime to refresh and recover, so you should encourage employees to take time out from work during the lockdown.
“However, if you need them working, you can decline a last-minute holiday request. Many employers have contractual provisions in place which set the rules around how employees should request their holidays, and this often includes a notice period that staff should stick to when they want to ask for holidays. These notice periods vary, but a common example is one week’s notice for odd days of annual leave. This should, therefore, deter employees from making last-minute requests but should they still do so, you can refer them to the rules and point out that they have not followed procedure.
“If you do not have such rules in place, you still have the fallback position that legislation provides you with to be able to refuse the request. However, businesses may open themselves up to claims of constructive dismissal if they repeatedly deny an employee the opportunity to take annual leave.”