What should I do when a holiday request is refused?

Aug 04, 2014
I have requested a week off work in August to look after my children as I am unable to make childcare arrangements for that time. As several of my colleagues will also be on holiday the request has been refused. What can I do?

Employers have wide discretion to stipulate when employees can take annual leave, particularly during popular times such as Christmas and Summer holidays. However you may have other options. 

If either of your children is under 5 (or 18 if disabled) and as long as you have been employed by your employer for one year, you have a right to take parental leave. You are obliged to give 21 days’ notice where possible, and this leave is generally unpaid. Your employer may however have its own parental leave policy and it is therefore worth finding out if there is one in place.

Alternatively, it may be possible to take ‘time off to care for dependants’. This is treated as ‘emergency’ leave and the right to take this time off occurs when employees encounter ‘unexpected difficulties’. However, it will not matter that you had advanced warning of this problem if you are unable to make alternative arrangements in time. You should give as much notice as possible and you must be allowed ‘reasonable’ time off, but this leave is also likely to be unpaid. 

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