What would you do if two employees put in holiday requests for the same time?

Download our exclusive comic strips which detail the best way forward.

This edition of SA Law's #LetsTalkHR comic focuses on holiday requests. 


Two employees put in requests for holiday at the same time as each other, they both have important reasons for the request but it is your busiest time of year...what do you do?

Click here to download the comic.

Dealing with competing holiday requests: The law and potential pitfalls

The legal position is fairly clear: employers can restrict when employees take holiday and can also stipulate when employees should take leave. Broadly, both employers and employees must give notice equal to twice the length of the leave requested. If an employer refuses a request they must give as much notice as the amount of leave requested. So an employee wanting to take two weeks off should give four weeks’ notice; the employer must give two weeks’ notice if they wish to refuse the request.

However, it’s important to bear in mind the implied duty of trust and confidence; employers should act reasonably and not turn down requests arbitrarily.

Consistency is also important. If employees request time off for religious or childcare reasons refusing their request could potentially amount to indirect discrimination. To avoid such a claim succeeding employers must show that the refusal was justified. Smooth running of the business is a potential legitimate aim, but the refusal needs to be proportionate in the circumstances. Have alternatives been considered?

Join in on the conversation on Twitter @SA_Law #LetsTalkHR

Read SA Law's latest employment views & insights
Stained glass window Employment SA Law
Views & Insights
Winter Economy Plan - What is the Job Support Scheme and how will it work?

Chris Cook examines the key points from Rishi Sunak's coronavirus winter economy plan.

Read More
SA Law Red arrow neon light image
Views & Insights
Data Protection and workplace coronavirus testing

Managing the data protection challenges of workplace coronavirus testing

Read More
Stained glass window Employment SA Law
Views & Insights
Guidance for enabling a safe “return to work”

A guide to returning to work safely for those who are unable to work from home.

Read More
Stained glass window Employment SA Law
Views & Insights
BP Fuels Diversity and Inclusion Drive

Partner and Head of Employment & Data Protection Chris Cook comments in Personnel Today regarding BP's announcement of their new Diversity & Inclusion…

Read More
Stained glass window Employment SA Law
Views & Insights
Covid-19 and home-working mental health for the insurance industry

Keely comments on mental health issues faced by home-workers in the insurance industry plus duty of care and handling HR issues remotely during covid-19.

Read More
Stained glass window Employment SA Law
Views & Insights
Updates to off-payroll working in the private sector

Following the delay to the introduction of off-payroll working in the private sector, the government are introducing some amendments to the original proposals,…

Read More
Stained glass window Employment SA Law
Views & Insights
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: update affecting notice periods

The Treasury has published a further Direction to provide rules that will govern the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). Most of the rules in the…

Read More
Join our mailing list

Want our latest views & insight along with exclusive event invitations and much more sent directly to you?

Read More

© SA LAW 2020

Every care is taken in the preparation of our articles. However, no responsibility can be accepted to any person who acts on the basis of information contained in them alone. You are recommended to obtain specific advice in respect of individual cases.