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Can My Employer Force Me To Take Holidays When I’m On Furlough

09 July 2020 Category: News

This is a question we’ve been asked on a number of occasions during the last three months and we’re afraid to say that, normally, the answer is “yes”.

Unless there is something very specific in your contract of employment about holiday arrangements, then you need to rely on the terms of The Working Time Regulations 1998.

These regulations allow your employer to decide if you’re to take holidays – and that doesn’t matter if you’re on furlough or not. Your employer can instruct you to take any number of days holiday provided they give you double that number of days notice.

That means if your employer decided to instruct you to take 5 days holiday, they would have to give you 10 days’ notice – and those 10 days are 10 normal working days.

In the current climate, employers may be very wary of employees returning from furlough only to take time off on holidays, just when the employer really needs people back at work.

However, if the employee gives the necessary period of notice – again, double the amount of the number of days holiday looked for, the employer can’t do anything about that and must allow the employee to take the holidays requested.

If the employer does instruct the employee to take holidays whilst on furlough, the employer must pay the full rate of pay for each of the days on holiday and not the 80% rate of pay allowed during furlough.

Should an employer decide to instruct employees to take holidays, they much ensure they are not acting in a discriminatory way.

For instance, if the employer insists that employees on furlough take holidays but not any employees holding similar positions who are working to take holidays, that could be considered discriminatory. Alternatively, if the employer insisted that all female employees take holidays and not male employees, again, that could be considered discriminatory.

In such circumstances, if the situation cannot be resolved through negotiation, the employee can make an application to the employment tribunal to resolve the position.

If you do have an issue relating to being asked to take holidays whilst on furlough or any other employment issue, please get in touch with us.

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North Berwick - 01620 892138
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