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My company has just been taken over and we have been told that we cannot take our annual leave during the summer despite the fact that no notice of this has been given. That was in June and we have all booked up. I am the only member of staff who does not have school-age children. What is our position, please?
From a motivational point of view it would appear ridiculous that a company would seek to make such changes at short notice and cause distress and upset. Even if a company had objectively justified business reasons for needing to change people’s holiday plans, it would normally be unnecessary to make a blanket ban on holidays. As a bare minimum, the company should be consulting with employees to help them understand why some changes may be possible to holiday plans, ask those to come forward who would suffer limited impact by not taking holiday at this time to see if they can do this on a voluntary basis to minimise the impact elsewhere (and possibly offer an incentive in so doing – although they’d have to be careful not to be indirectly discriminating as more women may not be able to be flexible due to them tending to have more childcare responsibilities), and be offering compensation in full for those who have booked holidays already. Even so, it seems unfeasible for them to expect to be able to implement such a policy without causing huge upset and demotivation – not a good start!
I recommend each member of staff puts a case together to diplomatically outline your reasons for having difficulty complying with this policy and request a meeting / discussions (perhaps via your Staff Committee if necessary?) to agree an amicable solution.