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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: UK Employment Law
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asked to take annual leave without notice on redundancy

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I am currently on maternity leave and gave my employer 8 weeks notice of an early return to my old job which would have thus been 10th June 2013. I have no written contract or other statement of working practices. I am the only full time employee and work has diminished to such an extent that my post is being done away with. After a period of consultation I decided to accept the offer of redundancy. On 29th May I received a letter saying that my last day of work would be 1st July this being the statutory minimum 4 week period of notice to which I am entitled (after 4.5 years employment). However my employer has said that I must take the period 10th June to 1 July as annual leave accrued to me during the current calendar year. Am I right in saying that he cannot do this as under the Working Time Regulations I am entitled to notice of double the period of leave before I can be forced to take leave. Also there is no mention of the untaken leave that was left over at the end of last year that I was unable to take because of a pregnancy related period of sick leave. Am I entitled to ask for payment in lieu of this untaken holiday. During the consultation period I had suggested that my employer pay me my notice pay in a lump sum as a PILON so that I could get this in addition to my SMP and he could get rid of me sooner, but this seems to have been ignored as I know he is having financial difficulties - in view of the annual leave situation described is there any other carrot I can suggest to make him change his mind? I will be receiving statutory redundancy pay of £1200 which I am OK with.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. How much notice were you actually given of the holidays?


the first I knew of this was in the redundancy notice letter dated 29 May 2013

Ben Jones :

It is correct that there are minimum notice periods required for an employer to force an employee to take their holidays. However, this requirement can be removed via an agreement between the two parties. Therefore, if there is any mention in your contract or other contractual policy which allows the employer to automatically ask you to take your leave as part of your notice period, then the requirement to give the minimum notice under the WTR is removed.


In relation to the leave from last year, if you had already pre-booked the holidays, however you went off sick during that time, then you would be able to carry them over, assuming you did not have the chance to take them before the end of the holiday year. That is only the case if you actually continued being off sick for the period up to the end of the leave year. If you were back in work before then you would be deemed to have had the chance to take this period of leave and are unlikely to be able to carry it over.


It will be difficult to persuade the employer to let you go immediately if they do not want to as they have the right to keep you working until your notice period expires. As such from a legal point of view, there is not much you can offer to force their hand and you negotiating with them on the best options is the most sensible approach.


Thanks for the information. As I said there is no contract or other policy documentation and leave was not mentioned in any redundancy consultation so I am hopeful of getting the accrued annual leave for this calendar year paid in a lump sum. As regards XXXXX XXXXX from last year I would normally have taken holiday over the Christmas period as the firm shuts down for most of it and I was sick from the end of November right up until my maternity leave started at the beginning of January so I had no opportunity to take any leave. I am therefore hopeful of getting some of this paid too.


There is currently no work for me to do so I guess the best I can hope for is to be put on gardening leave from 10th June and getting paid my notice pay until 1st July.

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