How long does an employer have to respond to a holiday request?

How long can an employee wait for a response to a holiday request? Do you have to accept all of the holiday requests? Discover the answers to common questions regarding holiday management in hospitality and how technology can empower managers to efficiently handle holiday requests while ensuring compliance.
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Ah, the summer season!

When the weather gets better, most people (especially those on this side of the planet) just want to go outside. We are all hoping to get as much natural vitamin D as possible. Including all your 200 frontline workers! 

Picture this, or maybe just revisit your last summer memory: 

Overflowing holiday requests in your inbox and on your cellphone, frantic scheduling, and the pressure to keep operations running smoothly during the busiest time of the year.

I know this may make even the warmest and busiest summers unpleasant.

As a hospitality manager, efficiently managing holiday requests is essential for maintaining operations and ensuring employee satisfaction.

To address your concerns and provide clarity on holiday request management, this article will answer basic questions regarding the process. Additionally, we will emphasise the importance of utilising software solutions, such as Bizimply, to streamline and enhance holiday request management. 

Note: If you are looking for strategies to manage an increase in annual leave requests, you can check out our article on that. Dealing with a staff shortage? Tips for hiring seasonal workers.

Let’s start with some data…

The World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) estimates that 235 million tourists will travel globally in the first three months of 2023. More than double for the same period in 2022.

One can imagine how busy the following months will be!

The stress levels of workers also alter when the seasons change, according to a study that was published in the European Scientific Journal. Frontline workers are more likely to have trouble understanding each other and might also feel more stressed or under pressure. 

As a restaurant or retail manager, you can indeed identify with this. Summer can be both demanding and chaotic.

According to a study on Work Stress and Well-being in the Hotel Industry, hotel managers, for example, experience much more stress than hourly employees.

For care home managers, this can also mean that your employees might be extra stressed and concerned about the health of their older customers. Meaning you will also feel the pressure yourself.

With all this information in mind, you may get some tricky questions from your employees during those times. Let’s dive into the most common ones:

Employee requesting time off using MyZimply App and employer being able to see on desktop. Holiday Request made easy.

How long does an employer have to respond to a holiday request?

In the UK, following the information provided by the UK Government website, there are notice period expectations on both sides of the holiday request.

On the one hand, your employee must provide notice for at least twice the amount of time requested, plus one day.

On the other hand, you can decline or cancel a leave request. But you must provide as much notice as the amount of leave requested plus one day.

When you and your employees have a formal contract where you agree upon different notice requirements, the contract will apply.

In Ireland, an employer is obliged to provide an employee with a contract of employment that includes the terms and conditions regarding paid leave. This includes the notification you should receive and the amount of time they should wait for your response.

Are there any situations that the employee cannot take leave?

Yes. While most workers with a 5-day week are entitled to at least 28 days of paid annual leave, this is not the reality of the hospitality industry. As a manager, you deal with part-time and irregular-hours staff, who pose unique challenges when managing holiday requests.

There are two main reasons why an employee may not be able to take leave:


1. Insufficient Available Annual Leave: If an employee has not worked enough hours to earn paid leave or has already utilised their allocated days, In this case, the employer can deny the holiday request. To determine specific employee holiday entitlements, you can use the Holiday Entitlement Calculator provided by Bizimply.

2. Busy Periods: Managers may have grounds to deny a holiday request if it coincides with certain busy periods that would significantly impact operations.

In both cases, individual employment contracts should be reviewed, as they may contain additional rules regarding leave denials.

If you have employees based in several different countries, you’ll have to account for international employment law too.


Case Study The Gunton Arms quote on Holiday Request and Scheduling block when the Holiday is approved.

Bizimply offers several solutions when it comes to holiday management. One of them is the option to implement an automatic holiday carryover. From the Desktop or through the MyZimply App, your employees can:

  • Request time off.
  • See the number of hours available.
  • Check the total hours already taken and booked so far.

If this is something you are looking to implement in your business, book a free demo or call our sales team!


Can I set a fixed start and end date for holiday entitlements each year?

Yes, managers have two options for setting holiday entitlement periods:

Fixed Leave Year: A specific start and end date can be established for employees to take their holiday entitlement each year. This information should be clearly outlined in the contract of employment or another agreement document.

Employment Start Date: Alternatively, managers can determine that the leave year begins on the day an employee starts working for the organisation. In this case, employees should take their holidays during this period, aligning with their employment start date.

You can use Bizimply to facilitate the management and tracking of holiday entitlements throughout the year.

Retail employer giving a customer their shopping.

Why do I have to keep track of the Holiday requests?

All right, ok. You are all set. You know all the rules when approving or rejecting a holiday request. As you are aware, you need to keep track of the holiday requests, the hours requested, and the hours taken by your employees. But, why?

The Working Time Regulation of 1998 (SI 1998/1833) describes that legally, any business needs to retain working time records, including overtime, annual holidays, time for dependents, etc., for 2 years, starting from the date on which they were made. In Ireland, the Work Place Relation Commission (WRC) obliged employers to keep those records for 3 years (start and finishing times, daily and weekly hours worked, and employee leave).

Being compliant with data handling is a necessity your company is obligated to follow, including holiday requests and holidays taken by your employees. Bizimply produced a must-see Guide on Law Compliance in the UK and Ireland.

Our Commercial Sales Manager, Marc Evans, wrote an amazing article on how Bizimply helps you stay compliant with data minimization that is worth the visit. 

With Bizimply, you can also export your Holiday Balance Reports in addition to having all of this data recorded in the software itself.

Embracing technology in holiday management enables hospitality managers to navigate the summer season with ease, enhancing employee productivity, satisfaction, and operational efficiency.

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