Areas of Law / Employment

Our terms of employment say we are required to cover sickness, holidays and absenteeism. At the time we were only entitled to four weeks’ holiday, but now we’re entitled to 5.6 weeks we can’t actually take the time off because we’re forever covering for other people. What can be done?

You shouldn’t have to cover for other people beyond what would be considered reasonable, and if it means you can’t take your holiday entitlement it’s not just unreasonable but illegal. You have a statutory right to 5.6 weeks’ holiday a year, and you cannot be sacked for taking it. If covering for others means you’re forced to work longer and longer hours you should be aware that there is also legislation which can limit your working week to 48 hours. I suggest you see your union rep if you have one.

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