On the 3rd day of Christmas Your HR Lawyer gave to me- A heads up on festive annual leave

christmas, social events

Whether you have a business closure, you work throughout the Christmas period, or you have skeleton workforce over the Christmas period, Employment law can have you tied up in knots.

Have you even thought that your closure (and therefore enforced annual leave) could be indirect discrimination?

Have you thought that your goodwill, sensitive and considerate authorisation of holidays for those people with children could be seen to be ageist, sexist and discriminative on the grounds of sexual orientation?

Did you know that you can legitimately refuse annual leave requests?

Read on……

Here are 5 things you should consider when tackling festive annual leave;

1. Closure
If you decide to close over Christmas bear the following in mind;
some people may need annual leave at other times in the year to observe their religious festivals.
You should have a clear business reason for shutting down such as reduced customer demand or cost saving to reduce the risk of being seen to be discriminating against people with different religious beliefs.

2. Sickness Absence
Annual leave accrues through periods of sickness absence
Annual leave covered by a fit note in relation to sickness is classed as sickness absence. Employees should be entitled to take their annual leave at a different time.

3. Fairness and consistency
When dealing with requests for annual leave bear these points in mind:
Who was off last year – is it someone else’s turn?
Who has to travel to stay with family?
Can employees sort it out themselves and agree a solution?
Who has annual leave entitlement remaining?
Giving preferential treatment to people with children could be seen as discriminatory so be careful how you approach this. Do not have a policy that states people with young families will have preferential treatment!!

4. Declining requests
Have a legitimate reason – not liking someone is not a legitimate reason!
You can decline requests!
If an employee’s request is declined, yet they fail to attend work, you can use your absence and conduct (disciplinary) policy to address this.

5. Use your policy
It ensures fairness and consistency
It shows that you are being open and transparent
Employees know what is expected of them and what they can expect from you.
It helps keeps you on the right side of employment law

Are HR issues getting in the way of your festive mood? Get in touch, email nickie@yourhrlawyer.co.uk or give us a call on 0115 870 0150, we can help you!

As you know there are 12 days of Christmas, so keep your eye out for more gifts!

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