Annual leave is something we are all entitled to, but the practicalities of working it out can become complicated when employees don’t conform to the traditional work routine.
It is straight forward when people work nine ’til five Monday to Friday all year round, but as flexible and mobile working becomes more the norm things start to get more complicated.
What of those who only work in term time or how about those with shift patterns which mean they should have a certain number of weeks on and the same number off?
A case which has just come to the Supreme Court has tackled the issue in reference to oil rig workers and the Working Time Directive.
They believe they should have their annual leave taken out of the time they would be working on the rig, as opposed to field breaks onshore.
Going to the Supreme Court means by definition that a whole series of tribunals and appeals had already been undertaken.
The oil rig workers had their appeal dismissed, meaning annual leave must be taken out of the time they would be onshore not working anyway.
Such a ruling in the Russell versus Transocean case has far reaching implications in other professions as well as the oil industry.
Those in the education sector are compelled to take their annual leave during non teaching periods and it is easy to see how chaos would ensue were any other system implemented.
Some companies find it necessary to ban annual leave being taken at specific times of the year, especially when there may be an increased workload.
Employees are entitled to four weeks of annual leave a year as a bare minimum, but when it is taken is at the discretion of the employer and not the staff themselves.
It is nice for staff to be given the flexibility to choose when they take time off, but there is no legal requirement for employers to allow this to happen, as long as they get it over the course of the year.