Dealing with your staff’s annual leave can be laborious at the best of times, but it can get even trickier if an employee is about to leave your company. Now, you not only have to ensure it doesn’t clash with other employees’ days off, as usual, but you may have to deal with a few other factors too. Fortunately, you can minimise many potential problems by understanding both your company’s and the departing employee’s rights during their notice period.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at what to do about staff taking annual leave during their notice period.

Are employees entitled to annual leave during their notice period?

Short answer: yes – your employees are still entitled to their annual leave when they’ve handed in their notice. Simply book it in your staff holiday planner as you normally would.

You can only refuse annual leave requests for business-related reasons, as you would for any other holiday dates. This includes it being a busy period for the business or because other employees have already booked leave on their requested dates.

How much annual leave have they accrued? How much do they have left?

One of the most important things to determine is how much annual leave the departing employee has accrued for the year. From there, you can look at how many holiday dates they’ve taken so far and, by extension, how many they have left.

It’s here that the effectiveness of your system for tracking annual leave is put to the test. If it’s effective and you’ve consistently tracked their annual leave allowance and updated it every time they book time off, determining their outstanding days will be easy. Better still, if you have an absence management software that automatically tracks and updates all of your employee holiday allowances for you, calculating this figure will be easier.

If, on the other hand, you track your employees’ holiday manually and haven’t updated their allowance correctly, you may have to go back and perform an audit to calculate this figure yourself. Which can be very time-consuming.

If they have outstanding holiday, you can now work with your employee to arrange their time off. If it turns out they’ve already taken more than they’ve accrued, you’ll take the corresponding monetary value of the time off from their final month’s salary.

Can you make an employee take annual leave during their notice period?

You can make your employee use all their annual leave; you can even specify the dates that they’re to take their holiday. The only caveat, however, is that you have to give them sufficient notice. Their notice should be at least double the number of days off that you’re asking the employee to take.

So, if, for instance, they have 5 days of holiday remaining, you have to give them a minimum of 10 days’ notice. This is also where you need to take their notice period into account. If it’s short, and they have a lot of leave outstanding, you might not have the time to give them the required notice. If they can’t take all their prescribed days off, or if they don’t want to, you’ll have to compensate them for their outstanding annual leave in their final month’s pay.

Be transparent

To make an employee taking their annual leave during their notice period as smooth as possible, let them know upfront what they’re entitled to. This will result in as little unnecessary friction as possible as they leave your company (or, in some cases, any more friction). Ideally, your company has an absence policy. that you can refer them to that lays it all out for them. In which case, you can simply let them know where to find it.