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What do you do if you need to cancel an employee's leave?

by , 25 July 2016
What do you do if you need to cancel an employee's leave?William applied for leave a month ago. He assured you he'd have all his deadlines in check, and his work finished. So you approved it and he paid for his romantic week away with his fiancé.

Everyone wins.

But it's now three days before he leaves, and he's nowhere near reaching his deadline. What now?

Do you let him go away? After all, you said he could have the days off. Or do you do the one thing you know is going to get him, and probably your other staff too, up in arms. Cancel his leave.

This isn't an easy decision to make, but you have customers to keep happy. And let's face it, without these customers, William wouldn't have a job to come to anyway!
 
So, you cancel his leave... Now he wants you to pay him back the money he's already spent on his week away. Here's how to handle the situation…

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How to tell an employee he can't have his leave anymore
 
To be honest, if you both agreed that he could go only if he'd reached his deadline, then it's a case of 'Sorry for you William'. And you're within your rights to cancel his leave.
 
And since you both agreed he'd meet his deadlines, you can send him a clear, and reasonable, email saying he won't be allowed to go on leave if he hasn't met his deadlines.
 
Then you can say he can't go on leave. And if he still goes on leave, you can take action against him for being absent without permission.
 
And now the burning question – do you have to pay him for his holiday?
 
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Are you responsible to reimburse the employee for the money he's already paid?
 
No. William agreed to meet his deadlines, and the fact that he didn't rests on his own shoulders. You're within your right to cancel his leave and he'll have to forfeit any money he already paid. This is not your problem.
 
Having said that though, I repeat... Get his agreement in writing! Even if it is an informal email, that way he'll know you're serious.
 
Unfortunately, if you don't have an agreement in place, you don't have the right to cancel his leave.
Your only option would be to negotiate a mutually satisfactory solution with him, in writing of
course!
 
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