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HELP UNAUTHORISED HOLIDAY


TORO
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I desperately need help, a member of staff has booked unauthorised holiday for 2 whole months Jan to Feb to tour Asia and Australia, without checking it out with me first. it is on her facebook stating holiday booked, a staff member informed me. This particular staff who is a good worker, but when it comes to holiday seems to think it is a different rule for her. She has been abroad this year in June for 10 days, will be going to Florida for 3 weeks in October and to be fair booked in Jan due to a wedding. I have a staff who is going on maternity in September, and we are due OFSTED in fact a year overdue. The only problem I have with this staff is holidays which she regularly books, to the annoyance of some staff. The contract stated that permission must be given.

 

I don't know how to approach this staff now, because she has not informed me about the holiday, I really don't know what she is playing at really, right now I really don't care if she resigns, will appreciate it if she can so that I can get somebody else in ASAP, but I have been advised that she has not technically done anything wrong until she goes on holiday and can then sack for gross misconduct if she does (you know the long way). In the meantime how am I going to manage staff cover during this crucial period. The nightmare in this is that the staff on maternity leave, and the one going on this holiday are both deputy managers HELP PLEASE :angry: :angry:

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Sorry can't help as I am a teacher in a maintained school but am curious to know if your staff have a predetermined set number of days/weeks per year as part of their contracts? If this is so then surely there would be a case for further action?

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I think a lot depends on how your contracts of employment define 'gross misconduct'. I'm not sure that taking unauthorised holiday fits that description, but I'm prepared to be corrected. Not that I think it is a trivial matter: and perhaps leaving your group vulnerable to possible breaches of the welfare requirements might actually be a cause for dismissal.

 

The problem you have here, is that if she has done this before and not taken any action, it might be more difficult for you to enforce this part of her contract. However, taking two months off is really taking the mickey and this really isn't the kind of thing you'd expect a deputy to do.

 

I would take advice - contact ACAS in the first instance but I would also call a meeting with her so that you can discuss the issues. I would also be careful who you listen to, whose advice you take and the professional knowledge and expertise of those who offer you that advice. What you need is clear advice about what your legal position is with regard to what action you can take so that you act within the law.

 

What does your disciplinary procedure say about how issues will be handled? You obviously need to follow your procedures to the letter (and check with the ACAS website that the procedures and policies laid down by your setting represent good employment practice to insure yourself against a claim for unfair/constructive dismissal).

 

Apart from anything else, I would be worried about the precedent this has set for other members of staff. If they see this kind of thing going unchallenged, pretty soon you will could have a situation whereby every staff member feels able to book holiday as and when they feel because there are no consequences for doing so.

 

Obviously breaking the terms of her contract is one thing, but leaving you without a deputy at a crucial time is not acceptable. She needs to understand why it is unacceptable and what action you are going to take.

 

You need to put your foot down with a firm hand! Good luck!

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Hi this is a difficult one as she may have been allowed to take holidays in the past without any action taken.

But she does really need to be told how this looks to other staff as well as she is a Deputy and should set an example.

As for the law I would certainly contact ACAS for advice as HappyMaz suggests.

I would also be looking to tighten your holiday policy so no holidays are to be booked without gaining permission.

Let us know how you get on with this one.:)

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How much holiday do you get that she can take 2 months off on top of 5 weeks already taken/planned!!! Even working as a teacher I've never had 2 months off in my whole working life!!

 

Q: Is the amount of annual leave stipulated in the contract? Is she within that amount? Is this unpaid?

Cx

Edited by catma
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Thank you all for your replies, she has never taken unauthorised leave, but a lot of unpaid leave as of now she has only 3 days left, and will be travelling in October for 3 weeks which is unpaid for and authorised in jan by myself not a problem, member of staff was not pregnant then, I have already informed staff at the beginning of the year that I would be very strict with holidays, and unpaid leave will only be given in an extreme circumstances. The problem is I rather unpaid leave so that I can prepare myself for cover, than staff calling in sick, that is another matter. I have called ACAS, the lady informed me that I need to have a formal discussion with her put it in writing stating that she will not be authorised and if she does she will lose her job, and also state that it is gross misconduct due to business needs, my fear is she will probably resign maybe in November/December giving me the headache and stress of finding somebody new in January, when I can easily get somebody to start now in sept. If she tells me today she will be resigning can I really work with her for another 3 months knowing what she intends to do, there will definitely be a bad feeling around and I know I need to be professional about and want to avoid tribunal at any cost, because I know she is the sort that would start an action if need be egged by her parents. I have a migraine coming on now, sleepless night :( To cap it all I am also paying for her to go on a day release course, paid for by me the (day she goes not the course), which is a 2 years course, already finished a year. How do I tell her I know is another issue it is on her facebook, but I am not a friend, but her page is open, only looked because a staff told me to.

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Holiday policy is strict it need to be authorised by me we look through the diary if there is a free day I authorised and it is one staff per holiday at a time, Same as unpaid leave. I also do not allow holidays between the months of September and December it is a busy period due to intakes, and I expect staff to take some holidays during the summer months due to it being so quiet.

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I had a talk with the member of staff today and told her how dissappointed l am, she initally refused and i had to force it out of her literally i told her l know the dates and months, and she then said her mum had booked a surprise holiday for her, and she was going to tell me on monday. l told her that her mum is direspectful to me my business and the profession if she thinks she can just book holiday without consulting the manager first, and must have think her job as mickey mouse one. I told her the option really is to resign and reapply if the job is still vacant and she probably do so now, for the interest of the business, she said she would not because she will not be able to get a job and leave for her hols. l told her that l am more annoyed at the fact that her boyfriend had the decency to inform his workplace he works with the LA, but not inform me even though he is very familiar with the nursery, same with her mum who should know better working in the city, she agrees with this and said they should, but she was going to ask for unpaid leave (which need to book the same way as a normal leave) or resign and come back if she can, would really prefer for her to go now because the trust is not there, but she is within her right, will talk to ACAS again about this. What a mess, not happy at all, Why would a memeber of your family book and pay for a surprise holiday not a surprise party and still think it will be ok with the workplace, if it not taken the mickey, then i dont know what it is, told her her workmates will take it as precedent and i need to do the right think resignation will be best, will give her a letter of what we discussed tomorrow and take it from there

 

Thank you all

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What a frustrating situation! Interesting that she's concerned that she wouldn't be allowed to take leave from a new job but is happy to take it from this on without permisson.

 

Can you advertise her position in advance of her resignation or would that open you up to a constructive dismissal case? May ACAS could advise you if there is a way to do that.

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I havent got anything constructive to say.

We had one of those, 'I can do what I want' people. Nothing anyone said ever had any effect on her and she always blamed family for booking it.

Luckily, our pain left, I can only hope yours does too.

Good luck :1b

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I'd be very very careful about persuading her to leave now for the good of the business. If you can't legally sack her for gross misconduct now, then she might claim that you have been leaning on her to resign which might amount to constructive dismissal. The last thing you need is a claim against you to deal with, too. :(

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My thoughts...

 

she has been doing this far too much already and it should not have been happening.. this needs to be pointed out and she needs informing in future it will no longer be allowed.. unless exceptional circumstances.. each to be evaluated on their own merit.. allows you to say ok for weddings etc..

 

ACAS advice seemed very fair... and would have been what I would have done... giving her the imformation you had consulted them and they advised you to... "have a formal discussion with her put it in writing stating that she will not be authorised and if she does she will lose her job, and also state that it is gross misconduct due to business needs"

 

as to needing staff.. I would employ as a temporary contract to cover maternity leave.. someone suitable.. and this would give you the opportunity that if this employee did go on holiday when she says she will.. and you follow through with the fact that she loses her job.. there would be someone to help and could potentially become a permanent employee... having someone already there who could take her place may make her realise you mean it and will no longer allow the many holidays she assumes is her right..

 

and lastly.. it is really hard to get constructive dismissal claims , it is having to prove it and lots of other issues.. we looked into it for hubby with his company.. turned out virtually impossible to do.. despite it all being there.. and his company has managed to get employees to resign recently .. when we know they were a 'forced' resignation with no comeback.. So while the need to be very mindful.. it works for others..

 

​sometimes we need to be a lot less accommodating that we are.. it is a business.. and a job.. not a pastime or hobby for those who feel it is a soft touch..

Edited by Inge
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Thank you all very informative suggestions and advise, the task now is how to write a well constructed letter that will hold in court if need be, it is times like this that I wish I am a member of a legal team, but they are very expensive.

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You might consider capping the amount of unpaid leave you are prepared to tolerate. A day off for a wedding is one thing but over 2 months out of a year is just something else.

If you want to be treated as a professional you have to behave like one really!

 

Cx

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Torro re the training - my friend when starting a new job with an IT firm had built into his contract a clause about training - something like if the company paid for him to go on training courses (there were to be many and rather expensive) then as they saw this as an investment in the person and the company, then that person would not be able to leave the company until a certain period had been served or the cost of the course paid back to the company should he choose to leave within the period stated.

Does that make sense?

 

The company had started to do this as in the past they had many employees leaving soon after they had completed their training courses, taking with them lots of valuable training experience (and the certificates to go with them), leaving the company high and dry! Just something to think about when offering training?

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Thank you all very informative suggestions and advise, the task now is how to write a well constructed letter that will hold in court if need be, it is times like this that I wish I am a member of a legal team, but they are very expensive.

You might find some solicitors don't charge for the initial consultation, might be worth asking.

Plus, i don't agree with this, but haven't the govt just announced an ex employee who wants to go to an employment tribunal over wrongful dismisal have to pay £1500?

Edited by Rea
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something else to consider is that holiday entitlement is worked out based on how many hours/days per week a staff member works so a part time worker is entitled to less annual leave than a full time worker.

 

Given the significant amount of unpaid leave this staff member has taken legally she should be entitled to less PAID annual leave.

 

in this situation this staff member is being treated more favourably then the others.

 

hope that makes sense?

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Hello, thanks for the reply can you explain this further pls, if it is unpaid how can it be favourable, although I am now going to cap the unpaid leave now

something else to consider is that holiday entitlement is worked out based on how many hours/days per week a staff member works so a part time worker is entitled to less annual leave than a full time worker.

 

Given the significant amount of unpaid leave this staff member has taken legally she should be entitled to less PAID annual leave.

 

in this situation this staff member is being treated more favourably then the others.

 

hope that makes sense?

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I think what Westie is saying is.....

 

Annual leave is calculated in proportion to the number of hours/days you work in a year. If you've taken a large chunk of unpaid leave you have worked fewer days and are therefore entitled to less annual leave.

If you leave this staff member's entitlement unchanged regardless of the amount of unpaid leave she has had, you will be treating her more favourably than her colleagues.

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Guest sn0wdr0p

We have a policy which states that only one staff member can be off at a time and that all holidays have to be OKayed in advance as we have only six staff and would not be able to meet ratios. A couple of years ago one of my staff told me that my deputy had booked a 3 week holiday which overlapped when I had booked mine off (for my first holiday in 7 years in which we planned to book for Disney Land). Naturally I was pretty cross as she expected me to cancel mine and had decided she would take the extra weeks holiday she had not accrued as unpaid leave - she had it all worked out and expected me to just accept it. It wasn't the first time she had messed me about over unpaid leave and I realised that this could not continue. .She got a bit of a shock when she finally came to see me about it and I refused it. In the end she handed in her notice.

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The cheek booked 3 months hols, would not have told me if it was not disclosed by third party, she was going to in November I have given her a letter confirming what we discussed and gave her 2 options either to postpone hols or resign.

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I think what Westie is saying is.....

 

Annual leave is calculated in proportion to the number of hours/days you work in a year. If you've taken a large chunk of unpaid leave you have worked fewer days and are therefore entitled to less annual leave.

 

If you leave this staff member's entitlement unchanged regardless of the amount of unpaid leave she has had, you will be treating her more favourably than her colleagues.

 

That is a very good point. She has made herself unavailable for work for nearly 25% of the year.

 

Do you have contracts which give the number of days you must be available for work - like teachers have to be available for work on the 195 specified term days as part of their pay and conditions?

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Hello everyone,

 

To update everyone got a letter back from staff, stating she is not going on holiday in January, just a few lines to that effect. I know she is still going because it has been booked and on her FB, she is still discussing her travels, I am now suspecting she will either hand in her notice in Nov/Dec, or call in sick for the duration of her hols. Acas says she has not done anything wrong until she takes the holiday and not return for duties. It is so frustrating when you cannot plan ahead with OFSTED on standby, I am just going to prepare myself and try and put things in place as best as I can :angry: so annoyed.

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Really feel for you I have a member of staff who books 2 holidays every year during term time - not to the same extreme as yours though!

As we don't get paid if we aren't in, my staff member just says she'll phone in sick if I refuse it ... so annoying

 

Just on another note about holidays - awhile ago on the television I heard that the Government were talking about taking away a parents right to remove their child from school in term time does anyone know if this is going ahead?

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Interestingly, it is the school who legally authorise a child's absence for any reason during term time not the parent! Any un-agreed absence would be coded as unauthorised and could lead to interventions with the attendance team in the LA as the parent has a duty to ensure their child is in education once of statutory school age (or being educated at home) unless there is an authorised reason, which holidays do not come under.

 

Re people saying they would phone in sick if they were having holidays - wouldn't they then be paid under SSP, so their periods of absence would surely trigger a sickness review? It would for us in the public sector!

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