Taking annual leave throughout the year is recognised as an important way to enable staff to achieve a work-life balance.
This is particularly important at the present time as all staff need to be properly rested and have regular breaks to ensure they can sustain the demands placed on them by dealing with coronavirus.
This situation is likely to continue for some time and annual leave will be vital to ensure individuals are able to cope with the pressure in the workplace.
Working time regulations in relation to annual leave have been amended and does apply to GP practices. However, the wording of the regulations allows considerable flexibility to employer and employee.
Can a practice cancel the leave of its staff?
Practices and staff should, as usual, have a process for requesting, approving, and cancelling annual leave.
We would expect where a practice wishes to cancel annual leave, they would engage the staff member in discussion and take a collaborative approach to reaching a decision.
Practices should only cancel leave that has already been agreed or decline a request for new leave where there is a good reason to do so based on the needs of the service.
Staff cancelling or being forced to take leave
As with the situation where a practice wishes to cancel leave, we would expect a collaborative approach between the practice and its staff, which takes into account the needs of the practice and the wishes of the staff member.