Areas of Law / Employment

We’’ve been told that if we want to take a holiday we have to arrange for a colleague to cover our shifts while we’re away; otherwise we cannot take the holiday. This happened on four occasions this year because there just aren’’t enough staff. To cover for someone else sometimes means you have to work 15 days in a row, which takes us over the 48-hour week. Is this legal?

As regards the 48-hour week, you can work more than 48 hours in a particular week as long as your weekly working hours do not exceed 48 when averaged out over a 17-week period. It doesn’’t sound as though you have signed any “opt-out” agreement. There is a legal entitlement in any event to 5.6 weeks’ paid holiday a year, but, depending on what your contract says, your employer could dictate when you take them.

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