How long does the employer have to accept or refuse a leave request?

The only rule that is widely adopted across the world is that the employer has to organize the workload of the employee in order to allow him to take time off during the year. In other words, the employer can’t put the employee in a situation where it could never take some vacations just because it has too much work.

Beside that, the employer is free to reject a leave request with or without any justification depending of the country. Of course, the manager can’t always reject leave requests.

In large companies, there are usually leave policies set by country which define :

  • the process to submit a leave request for the employee,
  • how many days the employee is entitled to for every year.

Another important point to note is that it is the employer who organizes the order in which employees take their leave. It is therefore always the employer who has the final say as to whether or not to take annual leave. That’s it for the legal framework. However, in many companies, the employee can express his wishes regarding the dates of departure for vacation, following a formalized or informal process.

What happens if the employer does not respond to the employee’s leave request?

When an employer does not take the time to explicitly accept or refuse a leave request, the employee is entitled to leave in some countries (such as France) while in some others, it isn’t. For instance in France, the employer cannot blame the employee for leaving. However, the employee must be able to prove that he or she had correctly submitted the leave request and therefore regularly informed the employer of the dates of his holidays.

It can therefore be said that a request for paid leave that remains unanswered is equivalent to acceptance, at least in France. However, it is always preferable to receive explicit approval from one’s supervisor. If the employee is unable to prove that he had informed the employer of the dates of his leave and still left, this could be considered as an abandonment of job and lead to dismissal.

When an employer does not intend to accept a request for paid leave, it is advisable to provide as little notice as possible to allow the employee to plan accordingly.

Generally speaking, to avoid any dispute that could end up in a labor court, our advice is to communicate. The absence of a response is not an appropriate solution. And you should know that your employee has the right to contest a decision that he considers discriminatory or unjustified. It is therefore always advisable for the employer to give reasons for refusing an absence and to limit it to exceptional situations.

What about family leave?

Some types of leave are automatically approved. This is the case for leave for family events (death, marriage, birth). In this case, the employee only needs to provide proof of the event. The employer cannot object to the taking of this type of leave. Because of their nature, their duration is often very limited, so they do not lead to a profound disorganization of the work in the company.

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How to avoid disputes?

To avoid disputes around the organization of paid leave, the easiest way is to implement a paid leave management software like My Intranet. It offers a solution to the following difficulties :

  • The staff can organize his vacations according to the absence schedule of his team.
  • The manager is notified by email of each new leave request.
  • The manager can validate or refuse absence requests very easily.
  • The manager can view the team’s absence schedule at any time.
  • The time saving account allows you to set aside unused vacation days.