Parent-friendly holiday rotas could land employers in trouble

Employers should not give favourable treatment to parents requesting annual leave, Croner consultancy has warned.

Businesses giving priority for annual leave to employees with children could risk allegations of discrimination, according to Croner.

Male employees could accuse their employer of direct sex discrimination for more preferable treatment towards women when handing out holiday entitlements. And childless staff could accuse businesses of indirect discrimination, arguing that female parents or carers receive priority for annual leave.

Richard Smith, employment services director at Croner, said: “During the summer months most employees want to take time off, regardless of family commitments. Employers are facing a dilemma over who should take priority when granting holiday requests, and could well be feeling the pressure from parents or carers to be first in the queue, especially during the six-week school break.”

“Our message is clear: treat all employees equally. A best practice employer will consider the personal circumstances of each employee, but on a case-by-case basis, and not a blanket policy.”

Croner is advising employers to have a clear annual leave policy in place during the holiday season.

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