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Did you know: There are times when you MUST force your employee take annual leave?

by , 18 March 2015
Here's what labour law states when it comes to the annual leave your employee must take.

Labour law and annual leave: What you need to know...

According to the law, your employee is entitled to take consecutive leave days in his annual leave cycle or within six months of the end of his leave cycle.

This means that you must grant annual leave no later than six months after the end of the annual leave cycle.

At the end of a leave cycle or 12-month period, your employee can request his full 15 working days' leave, or 21 consecutive days which he's accumulated for that leave cycle.

Keep in mind that you must grant this request, within reasonable operational constraints, because the employee is entitled to the leave.

And if he hasn't taken them yet, you have to make sure that he does. If not, you're in direct contravention of labour law.

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All your annual leave questions answered!

Compiled by our labour and HR experts along with the team that gave you the Labour Law For Managers Handbook, The Ultimate Guide to Annual Leave answers the trickiest annual leave questions clearly and accurately so you're never stumped again.

Questions like…
•    How do I deduct employees leave for annual shut down?
•    Can you pay out your employees instead of granting paid annual leave?
•    What's the rule about taking annual leave during notice periods?

This report will make 100% sure you remain in control of this vital employer obligation.


Keep in mind this important aspect when it comes to annual leave:

You can't refuse to grant an employee his accumulated 15 days' leave at the end of the leave cycle just because it doesn't suit you. Unless you can justify it in terms of operational requirements. In this case, you'll need to arrange alternative times for the leave to be taken, within the legal timeframes.

Bear in mind that in case your employee doesn't take his annual leave by the end of a leave cycle, and applies for his leave after the end of the leave cycle, you have no option but to grant the request. This means that you're responsible for making sure your employees go on leave within the allotted, defined timeframes.

But what do you do if you have to deny his initial leave request for operational reasons?

To do this without breaking the law, you must have evidence that the employee's leave wasn't granted because of operational requirements. This is important since many employees will ask verbally for leave and be told it can't be granted.

If this situation isn't documented, the employee has no evidence that he  asked for the leave. Moreover, you'll also need to reschedule his leave for another time –within the 18 month window allocated in law.

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