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Can an Employer Change Our Holiday Arrangements?

By: Chris Hogan MSc - Updated: 14 Dec 2017 | 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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[Add a Comment]
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
Cartaret - Your Question:
Okay I work part time 9 hours /week for 3 hours /day as a Sensory Panelist for a well known drinks company. Its a specialist role. I have a contract signed n October 2015 which provided me with 60 hours holiday PLUS statutory Bank Holidays. However as my role is Tues/Wed/Thurs our role only falls on Bank Holidays at Christmas and New Year.The Company has asked that we close down for 2 weeks over Xmas- so 18 of our holiday hour allocation is used up ,now they have asked us to take another week in June so that's another 9 hours. so that leaves us with 33 hours which is about 11 days. We were not told and our contract does not state that we cannot take holidays longer than 2 weeks- some of us wanted to take long haul holidays. which the Company are saying is against their rules.- We have now been told by HR that next years holiday allocation has been reduced to 53 hours plus Bank Holidays. I think that they are playing fast and loose with us and trying to pull a fast one - I am tempted to just walk away but I like my roll

Our Response:
It really depends on your contract and what you agree to. If your contract includes a variation term, this allows your employer to change a particular term or condition in your contract, please see CAB link here which should answer your question and ACAS article here. I hope this helps.
WorkingRights - 10-May-16 @ 10:13 AM
Okay I work part time9 hours /week for 3 hours /day as a Sensory Panelist for a well known drinks company . Its a specialist role . I have a contract signed n October 2015 which provided me with 60 hours holiday PLUS statutory Bank Holidays. However as my role is Tues/Wed/Thurs our role only falls on Bank Holidays at Christmas and New Year. The Company has asked that we close down for 2 weeksover Xmas- so 18 of our holiday hour allocation is used up ,now they have asked us to take another week in June so that's another 9 hours. so that leaves us with 33 hours which is about 11 days . We were not told and our contract does not state that we cannot take holidays longer than 2 weeks- some of us wanted to take long haul holidays... which the Company are saying is against their rules..- We have now been told by HR that next years holiday allocation has been reduced to 53 hours plus Bank Holidays. I think that they are playing fast and loose with us and trying to pull a fast one - I am tempted to just walk away but I like my roll
Cartaret - 9-May-16 @ 9:44 AM
hi our company have just started a 45 day consultation periodthey want remove allcompany sick pay and long tearm holiday extras eg after 10 years service we get extra week holiday at moment company was taken over 2 year ago is there any thing we can do been working for company 1years some done 25 plus years
ray - 13-Apr-16 @ 10:13 PM
Maggie - Your Question:
I don't have a contracte I have worked there for nearly 4years

Our Response:
You should by rights have a contract. However, your employment contract doesn’t have to be in writing for purposes of employment law. As a rule you should have a statement of employment terms within two months of starting work. I suggest in the first instance you approach your employer and try and resolve the matter informally. You may also wish to give ACAS a call for advice on how to approach this via the linkhere. I hope this helps.
WorkingRights - 20-Aug-15 @ 10:50 AM
I don't have a contracte I have worked there for nearly 4years
Maggie - 19-Aug-15 @ 6:22 AM
@storm - Details of holidays and holiday pay entitlement should be found contained within your contract, it is in the first instance advisable to check there. If so, your employer may be able to change the terms of your contract if your it gives a period of notice. Should you wish to discuss this further, you may want to give the free Acas helpline a call on 0300 123 1100. I hope this helps.
WorkingRights - 4-Feb-15 @ 10:46 AM
xmas holidays in our factory have always been from xmas eve until after the new year for at least 25 years now the company has told us it will be open and working for three days in between xmas and new year how do we stand on the past practice legislation in this case
storm - 2-Feb-15 @ 7:00 PM
I"ve been put on a 20 hour contract yet my employer has taken on extra staff.And now my employer or is using our bank holidays to pay 16 hours of the 20 and only paying4 hours of our contract.
railworker - 24-Dec-14 @ 8:51 AM
Last week i had arranged holiday to start on the Wednesday. however on the Monday i was sent home due to flu and it carried into my holiday. i was then informed upon my return by my employer that it had then nullified my holiday pay during this time due to illness and marked it off as absent instead of the time i took as holiday and only got paid £21 for the 2.5 hours i managed to work in total. can my employer legally do this?
drew k - 22-May-14 @ 9:53 AM
I have requested 1 week holidays over the christmas period in June, can my employer cancel without prior notice?
elle - 20-Dec-12 @ 9:24 AM
If someone is on benefits and they have to come of it because they recieve £45,000 is there a time lim it that they can sign back on or can they spend it straight away and sign back on
hardworker - 21-Nov-12 @ 4:29 PM
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