Can an employer change the number of days’ holiday that an employee takes?

Holiday entitlement is a contractual term of an employment contract, and as such can only be varied with the agreement of the employee.

Even if the contract purports to give flexibility in this regard or the right for the employer to vary the holiday entitlement, if the matter should go to a court or tribunal, the court/tribunal would be very unlikely to rule that this would be a valid change, particularly if it is to the detriment of an employee in terms of benefits or entitlements etc.

An employer may have a holiday policy which could be more flexible – this might be in relation to things such as how many days notice you need to provide of your holiday, how many days can be carried over and when holidays must be taken, such as a Christmas shutdown.

But if an employer tries to make any unilateral change to the employment contract without the consent of the employee, this is unlikely to be valid and could be challenged in an employment tribunal.


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