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Can an Employer Change Our Holiday Arrangements?

By: Chris Hogan MSc - Updated: 29 Jun 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Contract Holiday Entitlement Employees

Q.

I work in a factory and we are generally given 23 days off per year paid holiday.They are usually 1 week for Whitson, 2 weeks in the summer (15 days total when factory shut is down) and 8 floating days to be taken at our convenience.

We work split shifts (6-2/2-10/10-6) on a rolling basis and 3 teams (A shift, B shift and C shift) each cover, so the factory is open 24 hours.

We have now been told our holidays are changing next year. We HAVE to take 1 week in March, 1 week for Whitson (closure), and 1 week in October (week 1 in the month will be A shift, week 2 is B shift, and week 3 will be C shift).

Also, we have been told out of our 8 floating days, 5 will be needed to use over Xmas as there is not enough work to cover. So we finish 2 days earlier and return 3 days later than scheduled.

This means we have 3 days to be taken as paid holidays throughout the full summer. Are they allowed to do this?

(S.E, 17 October 2008)

A.

The answer to this is basically yes, but you should have a say in the change.

The most important thing to say at this point is that it is utterly essential that you take advice from a properly qualified source who will be able to examine your exact circumstances properly. And in particular that they are able to look at your contract of employment, assuming you have one.

There are different levels of entitlement and rights for different types of workers. Although work is going on through the EU to abolish those differences, agency and contract workers still have fewer rights in the workplace. However, it sounds like you are a permanent employee under contract, in which case you have the strongest level of Working Rights.

Change of Contract

If that is the case, then essentially employers can control when you take your holiday entitlement. But if your contract clearly stipulates the arrangements you have outlined in your question and they are changing it dramatically, then it amounts to a change in Your Employment Contract.

As such this should be discussed and agreed with you, either individually or as a group, through staff or union representatives. It is possible that your employers might be persuaded to put some sort of compensation into the deal to sweeten it but they are not legally obliged to do so.

Your Options

You can choose to leave, of course. Your employers must feel that they are in a strong position in terms of finding replacement employees, because such a dramatic change might lead to a lot of employees leaving.

If you are seriously against the changes and negotiating doesn’t bring any compensation or flexibility to allow you to continue in the job, then you can refuse to accept the change, but you must get legal advice before taking this step. The next step is likely to be to resign and then bring a claim against your employers for Constructive Dismissal, but you must be sure of your ground before you go down this road.

Seek Legal Advice

To get expert help with this, go to the Citizens Advice Bureau, which won’t cost you anything in the first place. They should be able to point you in the direction of a lawyer who specialises in employment law. Or, if you are lucky enough to be a Trade Union Member, go straight to their representative for guidance.

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We have to use our holidays before end of Nov as we cannot have any in Dec I asked in the mid of Nov if I could book them she said no I had lost them but took Xmas day and boxing day out of themthey still owe me 18hours I was made to work bankhols as had to I had to come in for two on one occasion
Em - 29-Jun-18 @ 1:05 PM
mvj - Your Question:
I have my holidays signed by last manager now we have New manager can he cancel my holidays signed by last manager?

Our Response:
Your question is too unspecific with regards to your employment status etc to be able to answer. You would have to look at the terms and conditions of your contract to see what it specifies and/or speak to your line manager regarding this matter.
WorkingRights - 29-Jun-18 @ 11:50 AM
I have my holidays signed by last manager now we have Newmanager can he cancel my holidays signed by last manager?
mvj - 28-Jun-18 @ 8:14 PM
I'm employed on a 4pm to midnight contract full time hours mon- Fri,this has been changed from a contracted 2-10 shift which we had no choice about. Now on bank holidays we are made to work a 12-8 shift can my employer do this.
Bcbroady - 28-May-18 @ 11:16 AM
FullOfLife - Your Question:
I have been employed on a 3 month contract since February. It will be coming to an end at the end of May. I have since been offered a 6 month extension on my contract. However, I have an event in June that I cannot miss. I am unable take the day as annual leave due to staffing constraints and not able to swap with another staff member. This event was booked and paid for well in advance of my contract being extended. Can my employer deny me this day.as annual leave? I haven't actually signed the new contract yet but this event is so important (sentimental value and once in a lifetime opportunity) that I would not accept the contract if I couldn't get this one day off. Seems drastic but it was only supposed to be a temporary job anyway and not one I want to work in long-term either.

Our Response:
There are no rights either way here, you would have to negotiate this directly with your employer. You can refuse the contract, as is your right if your employer cannot make the concession.
WorkingRights - 21-May-18 @ 2:12 PM
I have been employed on a 3 month contract since February. It will be coming to an end at the end of May. I have since been offered a 6 month extension on my contract.However, i have an event in June that I cannot miss. I am unable take the day as annual leave due to staffing constraints and not able to swap with another staff member. This event was booked and paid for well in advance of my contract being extended. Can my employer deny me this day.as annual leave? I haven't actually signed the new contract yet but this event is so important (sentimental value and once in a lifetime opportunity) that I would not accept the contract if I couldn't get this one day off. Seems drastic but it was only supposed to be a temporary job anyway and not one I want to work in long-term either.
FullOfLife - 18-May-18 @ 6:18 PM
Bob - Your Question:
Hi. My contract says I only need to accrue my holidays during the first year of employment. I have been in the job 4 years and the past 3 years I have been able to take my holidays whenever I liked as long as I gave the correct notice. I have TUPE transfered to a new company as of 1st feb 2018 and the new holiday year started in April. Since Feb nobody from the new company has contacted me unless it was to work extra hours so I have no idea of any changes that have been made. I booked a weeks holiday with permission from my supervisor from 9th - 15th April and these hours were sent to our area manager for approval since my supervisor went off sick a few weeks before I was due to take my holidays. Nobody has contacted me to say I couldn't take them and when I checked my wages, no holidays had been paid. I have spoken to the area manager and she said the new compnay have changed the holiday policy and I have to accrue all holidays again and so I wouldn't have been eligible to take them a week into the holiday year. Can they make this change and should I have been informed of this before I took the holidays?

Our Response:
This information should be contained within the terms and conditions of your employment contract.
WorkingRights - 19-Apr-18 @ 11:10 AM
Hi. My contract says I only need to accrue my holidays during the first year of employment. I have been in the job 4 years and the past 3 years I have been able to take my holidays whenever I liked as long as I gave the correct notice. I have TUPE transfered to a new company as of 1st feb 2018 and the new holiday year started in April. Since Feb nobody from the new company has contacted me unless it was to work extra hours so I have no idea of any changes that have been made. I booked a weeks holiday with permission from my supervisor from 9th - 15th April and these hours were sent to our area manager for approval since my supervisor went off sick a few weeks before I was due to take my holidays. Nobody has contacted me to say I couldn't take them and when I checked my wages, no holidays had been paid. I have spoken to the area manager and she said the new compnay have changed the holiday policy and I have to accrue all holidays again and so I wouldn't have been eligible to take them a week into the holiday year. Can they make this change and should I have been informed of this before I took the holidays?
Bob - 18-Apr-18 @ 7:23 PM
Taz - Your Question:
Hi my employer has changed my work shift (now 7 day working week instead of 5) with alternative days off. While this is a pain there is nothing I can do a about that as I still get the same amount of days off. My problem is that I booked a 2 week holiday to go abroad (this is paid in full), it was 2 monday to friday weeks and included 3 weekends so in total 16 days. With the shift change I had to swap some days holiday - e.g. I am now off some midweek days but working weekends so had to cancel some days and book others (for the same amount of time off). Anyway thry are refusing to do this which will mean that I cant go on holiday and will lose the money that I have paid. Can they do this.

Our Response:
You don't say what type of contract you are on, which might make a difference. You can see more about changing contract terms here . If you have tried to solve the problem informally by talking to your manager but you’re not satisfied, you can make a formal grievance complaint in writing, please see link here . Your employer should listen, particularly if you booked the holiday pre your contract change and the changes had to be negotiated.
WorkingRights - 6-Apr-18 @ 10:03 AM
Hi my employer has changed my work shift (now 7 day working week instead of 5) with alternative days off.While this is a pain there is nothing I can do a about that as I still get the same amount of days off. My problem is that I booked a 2 week holiday to go abroad (this is paid in full), it was 2 monday to friday weeks and included 3 weekends so in total 16 days. With the shift change I had to swap some days holiday - e.g. I am now off some midweek days but working weekends so had to cancel some days and book others (for the same amount of time off). Anyway thry are refusing to do this which will mean that i cant go on holiday and will lose the money that i have paid. Can they do this.
Taz - 5-Apr-18 @ 11:08 AM
Glog - Your Question:
We have just been told our new holidays are now going to start from Jan to Dec where as before they were april to march meaning outr holidays for this year have now been cut from 28 days to 21 can they do this

Our Response:
As outlined in the article, as such this should be discussed and agreed with you, either individually or as a group, through staff or union representatives. You can see more via the ACAS link here . However, most workers who work a 5-day week must receive at least 28 days’ paid annual leave per year. This is the equivalent of 5.6 weeks of holiday, please see link here. If you are still unsure, you may wish to speak to ACAS directly.
WorkingRights - 8-Mar-18 @ 10:02 AM
We have just been told our new holidays are now going to start from Jan to Dec where as before they were april to march meaning outr holidays for this year have now been cut from 28 days to 21 can they do this
Glog - 7-Mar-18 @ 4:33 PM
nicci - Your Question:
Hi my employer has come to us and told us that we are not able to take holidays in August at all. In our contract it say July and September so this is a complete change in the contract. We where not asked about this nor where we awear it was happening till we got an email out of the blue. Are they able to do this?

Our Response:
If you have previously booked a holiday in August, then your employer would have to honour this. However, your employer can try to renegotiate your contract ahead of time. You may wish to read the terms and conditions of your contract which will highlight what your employer can and cannot do. However, as stated in the article, the answer to this is basically yes, but you should have a say in the change.
WorkingRights - 20-Feb-18 @ 2:04 PM
Hi my employer has come to us and told us that we are not able to take holidays in August at all. In our contract it say July and September so this is a complete change in the contract. We where not asked about this nor where we awear it was happening till we got an email out of the blue. Are they able to do this?
nicci - 19-Feb-18 @ 10:25 PM
Hi I have worked at my job for nearly 11 years . When I started we had factory shut down may August and October our boss asked us to beflexible as out work gets busy in the high season .There was a holiday block for our wearhouse but not our department.Our boss has now imposed a 6 week holiday ban in august for 6 weeks to middle of September.We were only notifyed of this change on the 29th January, our holidays start Jan 1st to Dec 31 .I put my holidays in on the 2nd of January and didn't get a reply after 27 days I booked a holiday abroad, my boss hasn't allowed my time off as it's in the holiday block do I have any rights.Thank you.
denise - 30-Jan-18 @ 8:24 PM
Worked for my company for over 30 years, they have raised a new contract for annualised working hours. In commencement of employment the start date is now 1 Jan 2018 and your period on continous employment with company began 1st Sept 1984.Is this correct or shoukd it have my actual start date . Confused.
Loyal employee - 18-Dec-17 @ 6:25 PM
rover741 - Your Question:
Our company have just told us we cant book holidays on certain dates is this allowed ?

Our Response:
Yes, if it forms part of the terms and conditions of your contract.
WorkingRights - 15-Dec-17 @ 10:00 AM
our company have just told us we cant book holidays on certain dates is this allowed ?
rover741 - 14-Dec-17 @ 9:03 AM
Moo - Your Question:
Hi please can you advise.I have worked at my place of work for 8 yrs and typed twice and my contract has not changed either time. I have worked with this newer company for 6 years and now they want to change my holiday terms. Can they do this?Thanks karen

Our Response:
Your employer can change your holiday arrangement if the terms and conditions of your employment contract says it can. If your contract does not have a clause in that says your employer can change your holiday entitlement, then your employer can only do this if you agree to the changes. If you need further clarification and advice regarding this matter, you should give ACAS a call.
WorkingRights - 1-Dec-17 @ 2:27 PM
Hi please can you advise. I have worked at my place of work for 8 yrs and typed twice and my contract has not changed either time. I have worked with this newer company for 6 years and now they want to change my holiday terms. Can they do this? Thanks karen
Moo - 1-Dec-17 @ 12:24 PM
I work 5 days a week 9:30 til 1:30 and every other weekend my employer has now changed my holiday leave from 28 days to 15 days I also have to use it for bank holidays leaving me with 7 days a year annual holiday is this correct
Kandi - 24-Nov-17 @ 8:05 PM
help1 - Your Question:
My employers are saying they will not be allowingsingle day holidays next year and that leave will have to be takenin week blocks can they do this as I have a young family andfrom time to time have to put a an holiday in for one thing or the other.

Our Response:
You would have to read the terms and conditions of your employment contract. If your holidays are laid out allowing for day only holidays, then your employer can only change these terms in your contract if you agree to the changes. If how you take your holidays is not laid out specifically, then the best approach is to discuss this mutally with your employer. It may give you the option to apply for flexible working, please see link here.
WorkingRights - 6-Nov-17 @ 12:01 PM
my employers are saying they will not be allowing single day holidays next year and that leave will have to be taken in week blocks can they do this as i have a young family and from time to time have to put a an holiday in for one thing or the other.
help1 - 5-Nov-17 @ 4:36 PM
@Bazzac_86 - most employees accrue holidays. Your new employer is allowed to do this. You might not have to sign the new contract if you refuse, but they'll make you sign it for sure once your current contract finishes if they wish to renew.
AiD - 31-Oct-17 @ 12:38 PM
I work for a subcontractor who’s tenure has recently been taken over by a new company. I am still on my original contract for the previous company and haven’t signed a new contract. My contract states that I get 28 days holiday a year not subject to accruing, the new company is saying that I have to accrue holiday before I can take it even though this is different to what is in my contract. Is this allowed?
Bazzac_86 - 30-Oct-17 @ 8:06 AM
Mark1989 - Your Question:
Hello, not sure if this is in the right topic but I booked holiday nearly 2 months ago. I have a confirmation slip stating it was allowed and signed by the senior personnel manager but when I asked about it they said the holiday does not exist should I just take the holiday?

Our Response:
It would not be wise to take the holiday without authorisation. You would need to take the slip to your line manager and discuss this directly. However, if the slip has been signed and you have booked a holiday, then you can stand up for your right for this authorisation to be honoured. But direct negotiation and communication is key here.
WorkingRights - 5-Oct-17 @ 12:14 PM
Hello, not sure if this is in the right topic but I booked holiday nearly 2 months ago.I have a confirmation slip stating it was allowed and signed by the senior personnel manager but when I asked about it they said the holiday does not exist should I just take the holiday?
Mark1989 - 4-Oct-17 @ 7:21 AM
My employer wants to change when we take holidays from July - june to October- September. The contract says the first dates. Can they just change them or should I have a new contract. I have worked for them 2 1/2 years.
D - 1-Jul-17 @ 9:52 AM
hi , the company i work for has changed are hoilday year from Jan to end of Dec they have changed it to April to March , they are saying that its only 6 days _1 for the bank holiday in Jan ,and we only have 5 days hoilday to use by the end of March .some of us have said .t should be 7 days -1 day holiday = 6 days holidays to use by the end of March they are saying that the can round it down and we saying they can not round it down from 6.9 dayswho is right ?
D - 8-Feb-17 @ 8:04 AM
If an employer changes the holiday dates from April to April, to January to January, can they then take 8-10 days off the next years holiday if you have already taken it?
Dave - 22-Sep-16 @ 8:00 PM
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