Annual holidays can be taken at any time by mutual agreement. While the amount of notice required is not specifically mentioned in the Holidays Act, it needs to be fair and reasonable. This varies depending on the workplace. Some businesses may be happy with a few days’ notice - others may require a few weeks’ notice.
As an employer, you cannot unreasonably withhold consent to an employee's request to take annual holidays. By the same token, it’s reasonable to expect employees to provide the notice needed to plan for their absence. It’s good practice to develop a policy around the amount of notice expected on the farm. This should be kept in the Farm Policy Manual or even in your employment agreement and helps avoid misunderstandings later on.
It may be helpful to sit down with your employees at the start of the year to discuss their annual leave plans for the year, especially longer holidays. Employees must be given the opportunity to take at least two of their four weeks’ holiday continuously.
Sit down with your employee and agree when annual leave should be taken. Work together to find a solution.
There may be occasions when an employee needs to take annual leave unexpectedly, for instance in a family emergency. These situations should be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. Open communication, good faith or treating your employee as you would like to be treated, and common sense are key here. If you feel that an employee is taking advantage of the situation, it’s best to deal with the issue promptly.
Use your communication skills and be open minded, to deal effectively with problems.