Ask The HR Expert: forcing reluctant employees to take annual leave

Peninsula Team

June 01 2012

I have an employee who is a bit of a ‘workaholic’, and he doesn’t use any of his holiday entitlement. How can I force him to use his holidays and take time off? Currently, an employee’s full time annual leave entitlement is 5.6 weeks in a leave year, which equates to 28 days for someone who works 5 days a week. 4 weeks of the 5.6 must be taken in the leave year to which they relate, which means that 1.6 weeks may be carried over to the next leave year. Therefore, an employee who doesn’t take holidays in one leave year, can legally take some of them over to the next leave year if the employer agrees for this to happen. This is only a temporary solution, however, because then there is more annual leave for the reluctant employee to take in the next year. The Working Time Regulations 1998 include a provision which enables employers to enforce a period of annual leave on employees, which you could take advantage of in this situation to make sure that the employee is not compromising his health and safety. Paid annual leave is essentially a measure taken to ensure that employees are encouraged to time away from the workplace in order to take a break and if they need more encouragement to do this, then this provision can be used. In order to enforce a period of annual leave, the employer must serve notice on the employee. The notice must be twice as long as the period of annual leave in question e.g. if the employer wants to enforce a week long holiday, the notice must be given at least 2 weeks before. Employers should always be seen to be encouraging employees to take the annual leave that they are entitled to, by making regular checks on remaining untaken leave and informing employees of this. For any further information, please call our 24 Hour Advice Service on 0844 892 2772.

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