What Happens if You Have to Decline an Employees Vacation Request?

Peninsula Team

December 08 2019

‘Vacation’ is a word that gets even the most reserved employee brimming with joy. Time off is an essential part of a successful work-life balance and offers employees numerous benefits, such as:

  • A reprieve from workplace stressors
  • More time with family and friends
  • The opportunity to accomplish personal goals (e.g., seeing other parts of the world)
  • And so much more!

It is no surprise that people cherish their vacation time. So, what happens when an employee’s vacation falls at a particularly busy time for the company, or coincides with another team members vacation? This article explores the vacation rights of Canadian employees, and how employers can appropriately decline an employee’s vacation request.

What rights do employees have to vacation?

In Canada, annual paid leave, such as vacation or holidays, is determined provincially; unless the employee falls under federal jurisdiction. All provinces give employees a minimum of two weeks of vacation.

For example, Ontario’s Employments Standards Act (ESA) gives employees two weeks of vacation annually, if they have worked for their employer for under five years. After five consecutive years with the same company, an employee’s vacation entitlement goes up to three weeks per year.

For additional information on vacation entitlements (e.g., calculating vacation pay, deadlines for taking vacation, how vacation time interact with other leaves of absences, etc.) employers can reference their provinces Employment Standards.

Appropriately Declining an Employee’s Vacation Request

Although an employer has the right to decline an employee’s vacation request, a vacation policy outlining the rules on requesting time off is important. Some key details to include in a vacation policy are:

  • How far in advance an employee must request their vacation;
  • Whether vacation days can be carried into the following year; and
  • If coworkers can simultaneously take their vacation.

If an employee has had their vacation request approved, should a situation arise where that individual is needed at work, the employer may be out of luck. By approving the request, the employer gave the green light for their vacation–in such a scenario an employee may have booked flights and accommodations. Although the employer can ask the employee to rearrange their vacation, should the individual choose to still go, the employer is not in a good position to discipline them–as they had originally approved the vacation request.

How can employers better control the vacation request process?

A great way for employers to gain control and structure to the vacation request process is through online HR software. HR software is effective because it enables employers to easily check how much vacation each employee has and when they are using their vacation days. Also, the employer or manager can be notified every time an employee submits a vacation request. For employees, online software simplifies the vacation request process and assists them in tracking how much vacation they have available.   

Could your company benefit from a vacation policy or software for tracking vacation requests?

At Peninsula, we offer HR expertise so employers can focus on running their business operations. If you are an employer that lacks a firm HR policy or would like to better track the vacation requests of your employees, give our HR advisors a call today at: 1 (833) 247-3650

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