Any advice you could give would be greatly appreciated. My baby is due early June this year and I plan to go on maternity leave from the end of April. I have contacted my employer with regards to taking my holiday entitlement for 2011, as it is my understanding that I will continue to accrue my annual statutory holiday entitlement of 5.6 weeks while I am off, so ‘technically’ I have a full years holiday entitlement to take this year. I plan to be off until at least January 2012, taking all of my paid OML and AML, so my maternity will cross over two holiday years.
I requested that I take all my 2011 holiday before I go, however the response I received from my employer (to me) is not clear and leaves me with no option but to lose any holiday I have not accrued before April, or I can come back early from my AML to get my 2011 allowance – but this doesn’t seem fair/correct?
The response I received was:
We cannot and will not pay you in lieu of holiday for your maternity pay. There are some fairly strict rules about this.
In the normal course of events, we do not allow people to carry over holiday from year to year, unless they have been asked not to take some of their holiday for business reasons – so any unused holiday expires at the end of the holiday year.
As per our policy on holiday, bookings may be requested but may not be granted. Holidays over 2 weeks should only be granted by exception as it does make it hard to cover the work.
As a guideline for senior managers, holidays should not be approved where the employee has not accrued the holiday at that point, allowing for leeway of up to a week.
Should you decide to return to work at some point, then any untaken holiday due for that year would be yours to take; thus, for example, if you returned in December then you would be credited with all of 2011 holiday, less any taken prior to maternity leave (but if you returned in May 2012, you would simply be credited with all of 2012’s holiday).
Does this mean that unless I return this year, I lose the rest of my entitlement? Are they able to do this?
Thanks in advance for your help.