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Can my employer make me take my holidays when they want, rather than when I'd like?

Yes. You do not necessarily have the right to choose when you take your holiday, and your employer can tell you when to take your leave.

However, your employer has to give you two days' notice for every day they want you to take. So if your employer is telling you that you must take four days' holiday, they need to give you eight days' notice of this.

If it is a reasonable request that is non-discriminatory, you cannot normally turn down your employer's instruction to take leave. This is not very fair, but it is not that common for employers to do this.

Many more employers are likely to have rules about when you can take leave – for example, they may forbid leave at busy times of year (such as the ru- up to Christmas); they may have a system that ensures that critical tasks are always covered; or they may simply reserve the right to say no to individual requests.

Some restrictions are not unreasonable, but they should not be operated in a way that discriminates unfairly. And it is good practice for employers to make the rules as clear as possible, to have a clear justification for them, and to operate them consistently and fairly.

Your contract of employment, or staff handbook, should have further details.