Trying to get an employee back early: ask the expert

I run a small business. A key member of staff is on maternity leave and due back shortly, changing from full time to three days a week, but she wants to add holiday on to the end of her leave. Another member of staff is just about to go on maternity leave and I need the other staff member to cover this. I have offered to pay her in lieu of the holiday leave and to allow her to come back on three days a week using the other two days as holiday for a couple of months, but paying her full time. She has refused. What can I do as it is really going to impact on my business?

You are perfectly within your rights to follow your normal holiday procedure, as outlined in the contract of employment and/or staff handbook. You can decline her request in the normal way. In addition you should ensure you give as much notice as possible but as a minimum twice the amount of leave requested, so if she has asked for 4 weeks leave you must give her 8 weeks notice that she cannot have holiday at that time. Do explain why she cannot take the leave and that she may take the holiday at a different time. Keep notes of all conversations and confirm what has been agreed in writing. Please contact me if I can assist further.


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