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can employer refuse reasonable annual leave before maternity leave?


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Hello

 

What's a reasonable position for an employer to take on permitting you to use your annual leave before your maternity leave starts?

 

My leave year runs Jan to Dec. I informed my employer in writing that I was pregnant in April and that I would like to take my full annual leave allocation for 2009 before my maternity leave starts. I confirmed this again several times over the last 4 months and agreed back in June with our HR manager that I would like my maternity leave to start on 20th Sept, with 2 weeks annual leave taken directly before this date and that I would use the remaining leave throughout August to reduce the number of days I work each week down to 2 or 3 days/week. No concerns were ever raised about this.

 

However, with a month left to go before my maternity leave starts, and no plans made by my employer to pass my tasks on to someone in an organised manner, my employer is now in full panic mode and has now decided they will only permit me to take 2 days annual leave in the next 3 weeks, rather than the 10 individual days I had planned and they want me to carry over the remaining leave to the next leave year and tag it on at the end of my maternity leave. I really don't want to do this and feel they have had good notice of my wish to take my outstanding leave at the start of my maternity leave.

 

I'm pretty unhappy they are proposing a fairly dramatic change at such a late stage and with such short notice purely because my manager has totally failed to plan for my maternity leave. I think I have given them more than reasonable notice, and if they had indicated before now that they were unhappy to "wind down" my hours in this way before I would have elected to start my maternity leave 2 weeks earlier, as I knew I would struggle to work full weeks late in my pregnancy.

 

I'm going to be totally shattered working 13 of the next 15 working days rather than 5 of the next 15 working days as planned and feel I made reasonable plans to stagger my leave to avoid me getting too tired while still allowing me to keep things ticking over for as long as possible. I have been very flexible about which days I take off to allow me to meet commitments in my diary and urgent priorities so I have definitely done my best to be reasonable. But I know that the bottom line is that employers are entitled to refuse leave in line with business needs.

 

So is it reasonable for them to expect me to defer my holiday for 2009 to 2010 or would it be reasonable for me to object to this? If I agree to their request, that would see me only taking 18 days annual leave in 2009, which I think is below the statutory minimum so I am not even sure they can legally refuse me leave at this point in time.

 

Any ideas anyone?

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Hello Pat

 

Is that also true if by refusing to allow you to take leave, you are prevented from taking the statutory minimum? It doesn't sound right to me that they can suddenly decide you can't take the statutory minimum leave or that they don't have to give you a reasonable opportunity to take your annual leave allocation for the year, although I realise they always need to consent before you take leave.

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Do you have a letter in writing, dated April that sets out the above? You mentioned you discussed this with HR over the duraction and your manager has only now gone into panic mode, have you spoken to HR again?

I love CAG!

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Check your contract or see HR to see if your Company has a policy regarding the carrying over of holiday entitlement.

Maternity leave is no holiday

 

Also see below. On the part about carrying over holiday entitlement it states that you must take at least four weeks leave.

Accruing and carrying over holiday entitlement : Directgov - Employment

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Thanks for the info.

 

Lihi - yes I put it to them in writing in April and sent an email to my manager confirming that I would take my full annual leave allocation before maternity leave started everytime we discussed it since then. I had a feeling he would do this to me otherwise....

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OK the date doesn't help after all.

I managed to confuse myself reading the ERA.

 

However, you being totally shattered and struggling to work full weeks late into your pregnancy is relevant.

 

What does your GP have to say (preferably in writing) about this?

Also, was this addressed in the most recent review of the risk assessment that was carried out?

Working when pregnant : Directgov - Parents

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Hello. I have booked an appointment with my GP later this week to talk about the effect it's having on my health and wellbeing. I am sure he will be willing to write a note expressing his concern.

 

My employer only carried out a risk assessment for the first time last week. And at the time I was still under the impression I would be allowed to continue to decrease my hours so this wasn't raised as an issue. Should I ask HR to revisit their risk assessment in light of this change?

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Absolutely.

If you click on the link in post #9 you'll see that your employer should have reviewed the risk assessment for your specific job when you informed them of your pregnancy and again at regular intervals since.

 

It's may be possible to have your cake and eat it here.

In that, you could be suspended on full pay and carry over your outstanding holiday entitlement to next year.

I'd advise you to see your GP before raising this with HR.

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