Now they want to cancel holiday booked – What are my rights as an employer?

Now they want to cancel holiday booked – What are my rights as an employer?

April 16, 2021

As I sat there with my bowl of Fruit n Fibre (other cereals are available) and first Coffee this morning, the news was alight with announcements about the Government’s new traffic light system for grading countries as we emerge from the pandemic.

  • Green country’s will require PCR tests on return.
  • Amber country’s will require self isolation and PCR tests on return.
  • Red country’s will require quarantine in a hotel and then PCR tests on return.

Immediately the travel sector has said how unfair it is on regular holiday makers and how expensive for a family of four such requirements will be.

So what’s going to happen if your staff want to now cancel the holiday they have booked from work?

Well firstly we’ve been encouraged to book holidays, with promises of 100% money back guarantee. Will this be valid when a traveller decides not to travel due to the latest requirements. It’ll definitely be worth the employee checking the fine print. We know of neighbours who are still struggling for refunds from trips from 2020. The travel companies will be in no rush to refund that’s for sure.

What are their rights if they ask you to cancel their holiday?

The employee doesn’t have a right to be able to cancel a holiday booked from work. Once they have submitted their request and it has been authorised the employer can say to the employee that the date cannot be moved just because they no longer wish to travel on those dates.

What if the employee says that they are entitled to carry over their leave? 

When this amendment to the regulations was introduced in March 2020, it was clearly aimed at employees working in sectors that were cancelling leave and requiring employees to work on their day’s off. Think Doctors, Nurses etc. It was not thinking about Early Years staff who would be back in work from June 2020 and who may well have been able to take leave whilst furloughed at 100% their normal pay. The employee is right to say that employers can carry over the leave that can’t be taken in a holiday year due to the pandemic, but that does not give the employee the right to carry it over, only the employer has the right to do so.

What happens if I allow some and not others?

In this case you might cause yourselves some difficulties. If people feel you treat some people more favourably than others you could find yourself explaining a discrimination allegation or a grievance. Best to keep it straight forward, if you can allow certain weeks to move, its the week not the person who’s due to be away that week.

Finally don’t find yourself in a situation where everyone wants to take their foreign holidays in August and September. If holidays are booked and someone has decided not to travel due to the additional costs they could still have a nice holiday in this country.

If you need any assistance managing any aspect of holidays or annual leave, please do not hesitate to call us on 01527 306066.



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