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LETS GET DOWN TO BUSINESS.

Question :
Morena, We have 9 staff and return to work next Tuesday (meetings) Wed on site. We are a building company and only have enough sites for some of our staff to return in what we recognise as a safe environment for all concerned. Two will need to remain at home, we do not have any other worksites. One staff member has an exuberant amount of annual leave (over 12 weeks), Can we request he be on annual leave for two weeks, or do I need to as per his IEA give him two weeks notice of this, we have requested a number of times prior to Covid period, he take a cash draw down and/or annual leave (these dates that have already expired and he has chosen not too) any advice is helpful as we are not the sort of people to dictate peoples holiday periods and try to remain fair at all times, but needs must at this time.

Question submitted 22/04/20 @ 08:21am
Industry: HR & Talent
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  • Morena – As you’ve anticipated, you are required to agree annual leave dates with your employee, and unless the earlier discussions about his annual leave balance were very recent, I would advise you to talk with him again, then follow up in writing (by email is fine) to communicate the need for him to supply you with an annual leave plan to use up a certain number of days by a certain date. For example, you could say that you want him to give you a plan where he takes 10 days annual leave before 31 May. If he will not do that, you can follow up by giving him 14 days notice that you ‘require’ him to take a block of leave on specific dates. You cannot legally impose an annual leave period prior to conducting this process. Unfortunately your only other alternative for next week is to have your employee stay at home, on pay, if you cannot provide a safe physical environment for the work to be done. All the best, Fiona

    Morena. Further to Fiona’s note, in determining which team members will be able to return to site, you will need to ensure that you have followed a fair and reasonable process from an employee perspective. For example, you may have made an assessment based on the most appropriate skills relevant to the work to be performed, based on their “normal” site of work etc. Always propose your decision process to your team for feedback and consideration before your implement it.

    If you have a team member with entitled annual leave (which is leave earned in their last anniversary year) then it is reasonable that you expect them to use that leave within the following 12 months. You must try to come to some agreement about when that leave will be used (which it appears you have tried to do in previous communications), before you make a unilateral decision about when it must be used. If no agreement is reached, then you can provide them with 14 days’ notice that they are required to take up to 2 weeks leave. You must follow this legal obligation and any commitment in their employment agreement. If your employee is not willing to put forward dates, we suggest that you state which dates you would like them to take. These can be within 14 days with their agreement, or outside of 14 days if they do not agree.

    Please note that you can only cash up 1 week of annual leave per year, and this must be at the employee’s request.

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