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Can My Employer Take my Holidays Away?

By: Chris Hogan MSc - Updated: 3 Nov 2019 | comments*Discuss
Sick Sickness Holiday Employment


Can my employer take some of my holiday entitlement without my consent to cover a sickness period?

(Mrs Theresa Tonner, 7 October 2008)


Like many employment questions, this seems simple but is far from easy to answer in a clear cut way because there are so many different regulations that can apply. It also depends on the legal relationship that you have with your employer and what Contractual Terms you have, if any. It also, to some extent, comes down to the best choice for you, regardless of whether or not your employer is trying to force you to do this.

Let's try to break it down step by step.

Different Employment Situations

First, you will need to decide how you are employed. Although the governments of the European Union are trying to make all employment law and regulations apply to all employees across the board, this process is not yet complete. Full-time And Part-time Employees are nearly on a level footing, but agency workers and contract workers are still lagging behind in terms of the employment rights and obligations.

We'll assume for the moment that you are full or part time, as an agency or contract worker is not likely to have any holiday entitlement with the person they work for in any case (that's as opposed to the agency involved).

If you have a contract it may state how many days off sick you can take with full pay and there is often then a second period where they will allow you to be on reduced pay. Eventually those periods will run out and you and the company will have to get together to decide how to treat your case, but until that happens, you cannot be forced to take holiday instead of sick pay.

Statutory Sick Pay

If there is no sick pay stipulation in your contract, there are government minimum guidelines which apply to employees. Employers must pay Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) to employees, not for the first three days of sickness, but for the following 28 weeks. However, SSP is currently £89.35 per week, which may not be enough for many people to live on. The sickness has to be recorded for SSP to kick in, with a medical certificate from your doctor, which should be provided before the 8th day of the sickness period.

The bottom line is that an employer cannot force you to take Holiday Entitlement instead of sick leave, as long as you can prove that it is genuine sickness. But it might be a better choice for you, as taking holiday instead may mean that you will be better off financially, unless you have a contract with generous sick pay allowances.

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I have a accident at work .l have got a clam in can l still request my holidays for next yezr
Robbie joe - 3-Nov-19 @ 9:09 AM
I was off work sick on the 10th and 14th of October and my work then took two days holiday off me to cover them without my knowledge or permission are they able to do that ?
Dyson - 30-Oct-19 @ 6:15 PM
I had an urgent time based project that I was asked to complete which increased my hours in a month. As I work flexi I thought I would just take time off when things were not so busy. I booked 4 flexi days in a month although under normal circumstances the company only allows you to take 1 flexi day per month. I was advised after I had taken the time off that I could only have 1 day flexi and would be allowed 1day toil. 2 days were taken off of my annual leave. Can the Company do this if I have worked the hours
Mumsy - 30-Oct-19 @ 3:51 PM
i was of work for 4 weeks i handed a doctors for 4 weeks when i checked my month wages they paid me 2weeks sick plus 2 weeks holiday money without my permission saying i loose 2 weeks holidays Is that right. A. Allan
ali - 13-Oct-19 @ 8:59 PM
Can my employer reduce my holiday entitlement? Full timere where I work get 29 days including the 8 bank hols so they get 5.8 weeks. So the part timers holiday has been calculated at 5.8 weeks also. She now wants to take away the extra allowance, can she do this?
Boj - 20-Sep-19 @ 3:14 PM
I have been off work for 3 months with a broken ankle do I still get my full 28 days holiday allowance for the year
Awesome - 20-Aug-19 @ 2:23 PM
I had an accident and my Gp gave me 2 weeks off sick and then i havebmy 10day holiday which was booked minths ago. Now my company says i cannot take my holiday because i was off sick?? Unless i come back to work and reduce my sick day?? Is this right??
Marsi - 14-Aug-19 @ 9:37 AM
I have been off work for 10 weeks. Back at work now but they say my holiday entitlement is cut due to my sick leave. Canthis be true.
Casper - 30-Jun-19 @ 9:25 PM
I broke my ankle on a holiday and had another date booked 6 weeks later was bookedfor Scotland it was all paidfor so I asked my consultant and he said with the boot on would be fine to go I could not go back to work can my employer tack my holidays off me even if Iwas covered with a sick not and could not go back to work
djay - 17-Jun-19 @ 5:43 PM
Hi i work 25 hours a week how many days holiday an i entitled to a year thank you
Linda smith - 11-Jun-19 @ 1:44 PM
I broke my leg in January had 3 months off work, however after starting back at work I had ankle classes every Friday for 5 weeks i found out last week my manager has taken my leave for the ankle classes without telling me is this allowed
Noshow - 9-Jun-19 @ 4:19 PM
Hi iv rang in sick 2day saturday but iv have holidays starting Monday and my boss said I might loss my holiday pay for rining in sick 2day is this right pls?
Sharon - 25-May-19 @ 8:13 AM
Hi I have been off work sick.My holiday had to be used before the end of December, I have not been able to take it.And now told that I can not carry it over that I will lose it.Surly this cant be??
NONE - 19-Dec-18 @ 2:42 PM
Hi. I have checked my holiday entitlement for this year and found my total allowance for the year has been reduced by 1.5 days and no one has given me a reason. I was off for 33 days but I did not go over my sickness entitlement. Can they do this?
Stressed - 19-Dec-18 @ 7:28 AM
Hi I just contacted you we were given 2 extra days 2years ago we were given annual leave of 30 days 8 bank hols as we are closed leaving 22 days we are closed over Christmas so they take 3 or 4 days depending on the break with we find out on yearly basis leaving us 18 or 19 days for us to take ourselves . They have just issued a new policy on hols just giving us 28 days a year is this leagal to take our extra days back off us I know it is not morally right as we get no other perks we are only just above min wage !
Yatts - 20-Nov-18 @ 10:06 AM
Hi my employer gave us 2 extra days holiday approx 2years ago to be taken during school hols as we work in a nursery . That gave us 30 days a year they have now issued a new policy about bolls and we are only entitled to 28 days can they take the 2 days off us is it leagal ?
Yatty - 20-Nov-18 @ 9:55 AM
No it’s not correct. If you work bank holidays your employer can not then take this from your holiday entitlement. ACAS will verify this. Give them a ring.
ACC - 17-Nov-18 @ 12:43 PM
Hi,my firm have just merged with another and we are waiting to get new terms and conditions,at the moment I get 28 days holiday,plus bank hols and 3 days at Christmas which I've always had for 10 years,the rumour is that they are going to knock our entitlement to 25 to come in line with the firm we've merged with,plus we will have to take 3 days at Christmas,this means we will loose 7 days holiday,can they legally do this,I'm thinking because it's new terms and conditions we will either have to except or leave
Wag - 9-Nov-18 @ 7:23 AM
I work full time and have to work bank holidays but my employer still takes them off my entitlement. They say this is legal but I can't see how. Are they right
Old git - 30-Oct-18 @ 12:42 AM
I have just taken booked annual leave at work but was unable to go back to work after holiday due to being off sick I hve a sick note will I lose my holiday pay
shelly - 15-Oct-18 @ 11:59 AM
My employer has taken holidays off me due to long term sick.They say after 13 weeks they can do this.If so how do they no how much to take back?
Stevie - 19-Sep-18 @ 6:17 AM
I work in a collage on38 week contact .I fell ill on the 21 May.My hoilday started on the 17th July finishing on the 30th August. I have asked to have my hoildayback put was refused. Where do I stand
Msmfb - 5-Sep-18 @ 12:33 AM
Mackers - Your Question:
If your employer continually turns down holiday request then at the end of the holiday period says you haven't taken all of your holiday entitlement so you loose your outstanding holidays is this legal

Our Response:
It certainly doesn't sound fair. If you’re a worker and you’ve tried solving a problem or concern informally by talking to your manager but you’re not satisfied, you can make a formal grievance complaint in writing, please see the link here .
WorkingRights - 10-Aug-18 @ 11:19 AM
If your employer continually turns down holiday request then at the end of the holiday period says you haven't taken all of your holiday entitlement so you loose your outstanding holidays is this legal
Mackers - 9-Aug-18 @ 10:24 PM
Iv been working part time for 2 years I get 80hrs holiday iv tooken 1 week.in may 1 week In June iv handed in my noitce but my boss is sayin that I owe 28 hours to the company coz I took half my leave be for the half way mark.in the year but got my leave in April can she do that? Thanks
Rhysboi - 20-Jun-18 @ 9:21 AM
With my employer when I book days off so it’s paid my work change it to unpaid as they say I did not recruite the hours to book off ? Can they do that ?
Sy - 12-Jun-18 @ 8:29 AM
can my employertake away my holiday entitlement to make up the social fundbecause of the hours that i workfall short because of the weatherie , hours total 160but because of snowcan only work7 hrs a daymaxinstead of 8 hrs
clinton cook - 7-Jun-18 @ 8:40 PM
@ so-fed-up - I imagine you are so fed up, I would be too. If he is playing the system, then you can report him to HR, or his manager or the whitle-blowing team (if there is one). If you report it, it will be investigated. So, you'd have to ask for confidentiality. But once it is out - you'd have to be prepared to stand by your accustation if it gets out - you never know.
RuthY - 14-May-18 @ 2:45 PM
My line manager organises the holiday schedules and since taking up his role, takes 40 days a year. His holiday entitlement is 30. This is a large company and it's a fairly rigid policy.. He pulls the team up if they're late, want to work from home, etc. One rule for him, one rule for us. What can I do? Should I report to HR, his manager, the whistleblowing team or say nothing? Is anything likely to happen if I do report it?
so-fed-up - 11-May-18 @ 1:54 PM
Can an employer reduce my holiday entitlement because I have had extended sick leave. They have removed 3 days of my holiday.
Melvyn - 7-May-18 @ 9:45 AM
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