Can an employer refuse leave requested by the employee?

Verified 15 September 2022 - Directorate for Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister)

Yes, your employer can refuse your request to leave.

However, your employer must respect the treaty provisions that apply.

Your employer's refusal must not be abusive.

The refusal may be justified, for example, by continuity of service or strong activity in the company or exceptional circumstances.

If the proposed dates are not accepted, your leave will have to be taken on another date.

Your employer must notify employees of the company of the holiday period 2 months before the period begins.

The order of leave shall be communicated by any means accessible to all employees.

The dates and the order of departures on leave are fixed:

  • Either by collective agreement, collective company agreement or branch agreement
  • In the absence of an agreement or arrangement, by your employer or after Social and Economic Committee (ESC) if there is a CSE in your company

Your employer can't change the starting dates and order of your leave less than 1 month before the scheduled departure date.

If your employer does not respond to a request for leave, you do not commit fault leaving if your employer was aware of the dates of your leave and did not refuse. In this case, your absence does not constitute a abandonment of post.

You can ask your employer to take all or part of your paid leave in advance. However, your employer is not obliged to accept.

Please note

your employer cannot refuse your request if you are absent on leave related to a family event (marriage or Civil partnerships, birth or adoption, death of a family member).

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