As an employer you have the right to refuse all or part of an employee’s holiday request as long as you act in accordance with your contract. Also, unless your contract says otherwise, you not only have the right to set down when holidays cannot be taken but you have the option to dictate when holiday must be taken.

It is useful to make sure that all holiday requests are completed on a form. This makes it clear that it is a request that requires approval, not a demand.  An employer can also tell his or her entire workforce that there are periods of the year when holidays will not be approved or only a limited number of people can be away.

It is important to ensure that you are applying your rules consistently and also to take into account individual circumstances to see if you need to exercise your discretion to make an exception, if there are good grounds. However, as long as you treat all holiday requests equally and fairly you can refuse a request that is not in your business’s interest.