I work in a factory toolroom. I booked a one-day holiday exactly one week in advance. this has caused offence to my supervisor. saying I have not given enough notice and also I haven't spoken to the right person to provide cover for my shift. in light of recent events a grievance has been raised and now become a bullying issue. as others in the toolroom have given longer holidays in shorter notice and I very much feel singled out and my holidays are being challenged every time.

I have asked my supervisor for the correct procedure and what I need to do in order to organise my holiday. nothing has been presented. in our employee hand book says one days notice for a one-day holiday, two for a two day holiday, so on.

I have looked on the internet a lot to find out who is responsibility it is to find cover and also the minimum notice for a one-day holiday. I am beginning to see that management and HR are starting to twist their words with me. the situation has taken dramatic affects on my health and mental state. as it seems this way of thinking towards my holiday has been going on for as long as I have been at this place of work and need clarity before proceeding further.

I am a member of a union and they are great with good advice. and have confirmed to me that I am correct in my assumptions. I would like to hear from more sources as possible.

  • 4
    Does the company have a leave policy, and what does it say? Commented Jul 30, 2019 at 12:38
  • 2
    If you don't want to take the union's advice go see the Citizens Advice, don't trust to random strangers on the (largely non-UK) internet. Voting to close as legal advice. Commented Jul 30, 2019 at 12:53
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    Thanks for the update. Your obligations are in the employee handbook. Did you happen to highlight what it says in the book to them? Commented Jul 30, 2019 at 12:59
  • Voting to reopen as the OP clearly states the company's policy on leave requests but HR and his manager are not following it. OP should be getting advice on how to proceed.
    – Dan
    Commented Jul 30, 2019 at 19:42

3 Answers 3


This is an excerpt taken from UK GOV Website (noticing the UK tag)

The general notice period for taking leave is at least twice as long as the amount of leave a worker wants to take (for example 2 days’ notice for 1 day’s leave), unless the contract says something different.

Unless your employment contract states otherwise (which it does - and is in fact more generous), this should be the default. Your actions have been in accordance with default and company policies.

Note that it also states that they can refuse during busy periods.

Also note though that:

An employer can require an employee not to take annual leave on particular days by giving the employee notice of at least the same length as the period of leave to be cancelled. For example, if the employee has booked a period of four days' annual leave, the employer must give at least four days' notice of cancellation.

While not from the official UK GOV website I found this here and here and I have also found this in practice too.

Finding Cover

In the UK it is the responsibility of your manager/company to find cover (if needed) for your role (Unless part of your role actually involves arranging staffing levels and cover for holidays/sickness)

Being a member of the Union will only benefit you here if they don't adhere to those rules (or their own rules if they are superseded in your employment contract) or if they try to take punitive action.


In these cases the legal framework uses a lot of words like "reasonable" or "within limits"

This is because this process is completely left up to the companies as part of the secondary benefits and working culture of said company.

A stringy and hard-ass company will force all the burden on the employees, a more flexible one will transfer some or all responsibility to the management.

So figure out if your company has anything written down in an employee handbook or union guidelines. In most cases the procedure will be "talk to your manager before assuming you can take leave days" and if you are lucky it will give you a timeframe where you are allowed to make this your managers problem.

That timeframe is almost certainly more than a week.

If there is no employee handbook or the company is small enough that you frequently talk to the boss/owner it might be time to start one or at least get some guidelines on paper to avoid this situation in the future.


If you are unionized then the union agreement would dictate the terms, and therefore the answer to your question. No other opinion, experience, suggestion, or guideline would overrule what is already in place.

It sounds to me as if your union rep/steward has already provided the answer you need.

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    It would actually depend to what extent the union involvement is. Not all union engagement covers a broad spectrum of company policy. Commented Jul 30, 2019 at 12:59
  • @GregoryCurrie even so, though, your union rep can be generally trusted not to lie to you. If they say you're clear, you're probably clear.
    – Ben Barden
    Commented Jul 30, 2019 at 13:34

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