Kick in the nuts.

budge

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Come home from work today absolutely seething. Myself and 6 others voluntarily went back to work after 3 weeks furlough back in April. This was at the request of the directors to get the factory prepared for social distancing and to start some small scale production to supply some customers who were still trading. We have all flogged our guts out doing various jobs we wouldn't usually do, working without lunch some days and working longer hours without extra pay or time off. Over the past few weeks more staff have been brought back in and production has increased every week. There are still 30% of staff on furlough, some shielding and others who are not yet required to work. I could have taken this option as my wife is in the "at risk" category.
As a "thank you" we have today been issued with a letter and list telling us when our holidays are to be taken between now and April next year. Now I know times are difficult for businesses but this seems like a sledgehammer to crack a nut. They have said that holidays can only be changed in exceptional circumstances and must all be used before April next year.
My first week is next week, followed by a week in late September then a week in November, a couple of days over Christmas and new year, a week in January and a week in February !!
Does anyone know what rights I have in disputing them ? The government website seems a bit vague and biased towards the employers.

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Walleye

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In the UK you can usually only request that holidays are taken at certain times unless there is something in your contract or policies and procedures which says otherwise.
Check your contract and P&Ps for what is allowed. It has to state somewhere that your employer can make you take hols at their discretion. Otherwise they are simply requesting that you take them on those dates and you don't need to comply.
 

Cyclops

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Only advice I have is to dust down and refer to your contract of employment. If you can’t locate it ask for a copy from HR, then take it from there. The part of expecting annual leave to be taken within the leave year is reasonable. Most companies encourage annual leave to be taken for example 1 week winter, 2 weeks unbroken summer, then 1 week winter blocks, then days here and there. Some companies state they can allocate x amounts of days of your leave and this would be stated in your T&Cs. Most companies are flexible and leave this to operational requirements, and the discretion of your line manager. Have a read of your contract and see what it says, then relate to what you’ve been told. If there are any issues, then respectfully raise your points with your line manager in a positive manner. It is difficult times but this should not be an excuse for not communicating well.
Good luck
 

Saint Andrews

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As others have said Budge, check the T&Cs in your contract of employment , you may be in grey area though as most will normally say authorised at management discretion. That said it's a shitty stick considering what you've done. If all ends up lost could you not discuss with your colleagues and see if others want to swap weeks with you? Whilst Jan/Feb is pants from a salmon fishing position it may be optimal to someone else.
 

ibm59

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Annual leave can be rostered.
Outstanding leave must be taken at a mutually agreeable time.
 

Safranfoer

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As others have said, I doubt your contract permits them to dictate your holidays like this unless it’s normal to roster it, but they can legally refuse any requests you make, so in effect achieve the same thing. It’s typical for contracts to state that holiday can be refused if it is detrimental to the business.

The Working Time Regulations have changed too, so now you are under no pressure to ‘use it or lose it’ - you can carry up to 4 weeks’ leave over the next two years. Might be worth knowing, depending on what you want to do next: See:https://www.gov.uk/government/news/...xed-to-support-key-industries-during-covid-19
 

westie4566

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I agree with all that's said above, although you may find yourself stuck between a rock and a hard place.

I don't know what industry you work in, however it may be worthwhile 'sucking this up? The reason I say this is that no-one knows the state the economy will be in for some time into the future. Were it me I'd be thinking this through and perhaps thinking this is not the time to rock the boat - as much as it stinks and winds you up.
 

budge

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It's not so much that they have rostered the holidays, it's the dates I have been given. I didn't take the week I had booked off in early June to help the business during a busy time. I usually take 2 weeks in summer, a week in autumn/ early winter and a week after Christmas plus odd days here and there. These are usually booked at fairly short notice as I work in a department of one - me, so don't really impact on anyone else. To allocate 3 weeks in mid winter and only 1 week in summer is a bit unfair in my opinion, especially as the summer week is next week so no use to me.
It's probably good that I received the letter just before I left today or I might have let rip at someone. I will have a look at the government site and have a think about my options before I do something I might regret.

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Safranfoer

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I know from my business's point of view that managing the summer holiday period this year is even more nightmare-ish than it normally is but I agree that the solution of making you take all of your holiday over winter is unfair and I don't think a week's notice is enough for your family summer break.

That's the argument I'd be using as I think it's the most 'reasonable' (I'm not saying they're being reasonable, btw) - you understand the need to be more regimented but you need more notice to book a break/your wife can't get that week off... Swapping with another colleague might be the only realistic option. I'd be trying to use the working time directive relaxation to carry the winter breaks over into your next holiday year. No one needs a week off in January. It's a grim old month.
 

budge

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I know from my business's point of view that managing the summer holiday period this year is even more nightmare-ish than it normally is but I agree that the solution of making you take all of your holiday over winter is unfair and I don't think a week's notice is enough for your family summer break.

That's the argument I'd be using as I think it's the most 'reasonable' (I'm not saying they're being reasonable, btw) - you understand the need to be more regimented but you need more notice to book a break/your wife can't get that week off... Swapping with another colleague might be the only realistic option. I'd be trying to use the working time directive relaxation to carry the winter breaks over into your next holiday year. No one needs a week off in January. It's a grim old month.
The company directors have already stated that they don't intend allowing any holidays to be carried over to next year. Like I have said the rules they are implementing seem to be very one sided at present. Maybe it's intentional to get a few "free" redundancies by pushing people into resigning ?

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Elibank

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I know from my business's point of view that managing the summer holiday period this year is even more nightmare-ish than it normally is but I agree that the solution of making you take all of your holiday over winter is unfair and I don't think a week's notice is enough for your family summer break.

That's the argument I'd be using as I think it's the most 'reasonable' (I'm not saying they're being reasonable, btw) - you understand the need to be more regimented but you need more notice to book a break/your wife can't get that week off... Swapping with another colleague might be the only realistic option. I'd be trying to use the working time directive relaxation to carry the winter breaks over into your next holiday year. No one needs a week off in January. It's a grim old month.
Father Christmas?
 

Safranfoer

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The company directors have already stated that they don't intend allowing any holidays to be carried over to next year. Like I have said the rules they are implementing seem to be very one sided at present. Maybe it's intentional to get a few "free" redundancies by pushing people into resigning ?

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That’s all fairly rubbish. I’d be cross too. I just dug and found this:

Under the WTR an employer can require an employee to take statutory holiday on specified dates, whether or not the employee is on furlough leave, provided the required notice (as set out in the WTR) has been given. (Your own contractual arrangements may apply to any holiday that you give in excess of the 5.6 weeks). The notice should specify the days on which leave is required to be taken, and the length of notice given must be at least twice the period of leave that the employer wants the employee to take. So for example, an employer who wants an employee to take five days holiday must give the employee at least 10 days’ notice. A 'relevant agreement' (which can include the contract of employment) may vary or disapply this procedure so check the terms of the contract first.

See: https://www.burges-salmon.com/news-...oliday-and-extension-of-carryover-provisions/

They can dictate when you take holidays under the Working Time Regulations (who knew?!) but they should have given you 10 days’ notice.
 

kingfisher

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Strange one in pushing you and others to take holidays in this Winter period. Not as if they are saving money as they have to pay you for the holidays no matter when you take them. As for restarting business up to full capacity, assuming they have the orders I would have thought this winter would be a time of stock building or fulfilling a backlog orders, not knowing the business product range of course?
Check your C.o.E to ascertain what that says.
 

MikeCC

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In answer to the original question, unfortunately your employer can legally dictate when you take your holidays. This has been the case for some time. Unless you have something different in your contract of employment then im afraid your stuffed, annoying as it may be. Most employers will of course implement a leave policy of some form for employees.....but.....they dont have to. Theres probably huge numbers of employees out there who unfortunately have no idea of their rights, or perhaps lack of them in some cases. Theres no excuse for it either really, all the information is freely available at the touch of a button....thats not a dig by the way, just a fact.
 

Occasional salmon fisher

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Sounds like your best chance is trying to ask to chnage for other preferable dates, particularly if you can demonstrate that it won't have any negative impact on the business and ideally if you can find a colleague who is willing to swap dates.
 

Safranfoer

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Strange one in pushing you and others to take holidays in this Winter period. Not as if they are saving money as they have to pay you for the holidays no matter when you take them. As for restarting business up to full capacity, assuming they have the orders I would have thought this winter would be a time of stock building or fulfilling a backlog orders, not knowing the business product range of course?
Check your C.o.E to ascertain what that says.
If 30% of workforce is still furloughed and the rest wanted their leave in the same 6-week period, because of school holidays, they’d be stuffed. I can see why they are spreading them out.
 

Oscar

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If 30% of workforce is still furloughed and the rest wanted their leave in the same 6-week period, because of school holidays, they’d be stuffed. I can see why they are spreading them out.
Agreed, but surely there is a more 'grown up' way of dealing with this through negotiation and talking, rather than dictating? Seems very harsh to me...

Oscar.
 

kingfisher

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If 30% of workforce is still furloughed and the rest wanted their leave in the same 6-week period, because of school holidays, they’d be stuffed. I can see why they are spreading them out.
Without knowing how many they employ its a guessing game. It must have worked well in the past - allowing employees to take during the summer months. To preserve production there would be a first come first served scenario as usual.
 

Safranfoer

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Agreed, but surely there is a more 'grown up' way of dealing with this through negotiation and talking, rather than dictating? Seems very harsh to me...

Oscar.
Oh god yeah. We’d explain the problem to people in teams and ask each team to come up with a proposal for us within our operating parameters, together. People are very motivated to co-operate on such projects - especially as, if they fail, we’ll just give you random holidays in January.
 

Safranfoer

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Without knowing how many they employ its a guessing game. It must have worked well in the past - allowing employees to take during the summer months. To preserve production there would be a first come first served scenario as usual.
Not many businesses have enough surplus staff to cover holidays if 1/3 of them are already off, whether you employ 10 people or 100 people. Holidays are always an issue to manage.
 

budge

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The same process as normal could have been used, I have spoken to one of the managers this morning who said it wouldn't have been a problem. The main issue they normally have is people hanging on to holidays until March and then a mad rush to fit them in. I work in the fresh/ frozen food industry so we only carry a limited stock of goods at any time.
I haven't spoken to anyone yet who is happy with the situation. Maybe they knew what the outcome would be as there was a leaflet attached to the letter offering counselling for stress and mental wellbeing

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MikeCC

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The same process as normal could have been used, I have spoken to one of the managers this morning who said it wouldn't have been a problem. The main issue they normally have is people hanging on to holidays until March and then a mad rush to fit them in. I work in the fresh/ frozen food industry so we only carry a limited stock of goods at any time.
I haven't spoken to anyone yet who is happy with the situation. Maybe they knew what the outcome would be as there was a leaflet attached to the letter offering counselling for stress and mental wellbeing

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Your not alone, my employer is having the same issue and wants to avoid a backlog of leave building up which would potentially cripple the company later this year. It is mandatory that people now take a minimum amount of leave between July and August, whether we’re happy with it or not. Nobody really wants to argue it as the companys in a very difficult situation money wise. I think the general consensus between most staff is suck it up and hopefuly we’ll still have a company and a job left in another 6 months.
 

kingfisher

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Not many businesses have enough surplus staff to cover holidays if 1/3 of them are already off, whether you employ 10 people or 100 people. Holidays are always an issue to manage.
Sorry disagree. Company's and factory's have been coping with holidays since they were part of the employees rights from away back.
 

Safranfoer

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Sorry disagree. Company's and factory's have been coping with holidays since they were part of the employees rights from away back.
Yes, yes they have. Based on having a full contigent of staff. We are starting to remove people from furlough, but many are still furloughed. If Mr X wants a week off in August ordinarily, Miss Y and Mr Z can cover him. Right now, they're both furloughed. This creates additional problems for my business and Mr X's summer plans - not insurmountable, we can pull people in and out, and fingers crossed by August they'll be out anyway - but I have to say it would have been easier to do things Budge's boss's way and just issue a sodding timetable. Evil genius.

That said, Budge states it's to avoid backend holidays and that makes no sense whatsoever. Normal rules apply - you can ask, but businesses don't have to give. And you can make sure employees have taken a percentage of their holiday by quarterly points - many businesses do that, we do.
 
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