When you want to take leave
You and your employer have to agree when you'll take time off.
Your right to take annual leave
You have the right to:
- take at least 2 weeks of your leave at once, if you want to
- take leave whenever you want, as long as your employer agrees
- carry over leave into the next year — though your employer can make you take leave in some circumstances.
Your employer can:
- tell you when you have to take time off, as long as they give you at least 2 weeks' notice
- restrict when you can take time off — for example, at busy periods.
If you don't take all your annual leave and your employer doesn't make you take it, then you don't lose that leave — it's added to your next year's leave.
Taking leave in advance
If don't have any annual leave and you want to take time off, your employer might agree to let you take paid leave in advance. When you reach your next anniversary, you'll get your leave entitlement, minus what you've already taken.
Taking leave during an annual closedown
If your employer has an annual closedown, you have to take time off even if you don't have any annual leave. Annual closedowns often happen over Christmas.
Your employer must give you at least 2 weeks' notice of the closedown.
You have to take:
- annual leave over the closedown, or
- unpaid leave if you don't have any leave available.
If the closedown period includes any public holidays, you'll be paid for them.
If you're in your first year of working for your employer
If you haven't reached your first anniversary yet, you still have to take time off in a closedown.
If you don't have any leave, your employer must pay you 8% of the gross pay you've earned since you started working for them.
There are 2 other options for taking paid leave during a closedown, but they need your employer's agreement.
- You can take annual leave in advance.
- Your employer can change the date you receive your annual leave allowance so you have some paid leave to tide you over the closedown. If they do this, then the date they choose must be near to the start of the annual closedown and it becomes your leave anniversary from then on.