• Helen Manson

Are you facing a summer of juggling?

School is out and with the first (of many) tantrums, reality comes crashing down - what am I going to do with the little darlings for 6 WHOLE weeks???

School holidays, summer in particular, can be hard (and extremely expensive) for many families whatever your working arrangement.

Employers may struggle to grant all employees the leave they have requested, while still meeting the needs of the business.

If you're an employer, have you considered allowing flexible working? Are you aware of "time off for dependants"?

Do I have to authorise an employee's request to take 3 weeks' annual leave?

Legally, no. However, you should always take the time to consider all options. Look at the levels of staff off at any one time and if you can't agree it, consider a compromise.

You can refuse a request if you have evidence to show the needs of the business would suffer. You should have a policy regarding when leave can be taken and how much notice is required. Be fair and consistent with all staff when considering requests.

Does someone have the right to take time off if their childcare arrangements break down?

The legal right is to reasonable "time off for dependants", which provides employees time off to deal with emergencies, such as a breakdown in childcare. This would be unpaid and would normally expect to last one or two days (or what is considered to be reasonable) so alternative arrangements can be put in place. Some employers may offer the use of annual leave which would of course, be paid leave.

Can a flexible working request cover just the school holidays?

Formal requests for Flexible Working must be considered within the requirements set out by the ACAS Code of Practice for Flexible Working. One of these requirements states only one Flexible Working Application can be made within a 12 months period and, once agreed, it will represent a permanent change to the terms and conditions of employment.

However, employers are able to agree to informal flexible working requests to assist employees in managing a temporary change to demands in their personal life, such as school holidays.

At ComplexHR, we operate flexible working which assists us in successfully (we think!) responding to the demands of both our personal lives and our clients. Our flexible approach enables us to provide our clients with a seamless service during the (VERY) lengthy school holidays. It's a juggling act. But we LOVE it.

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