Ask the ExpertCategory: QuestionsTaking vacation with no notice
hri_Admin Staff asked 1 year ago

Do employees have to book holidays in advance or can they take them with no notice?  We recently had an employee inform us that he was taking 2 weeks holidays starting Monday (he sent an email on the Sunday)?  Do we have any recourse and what would our options be?

3 Answers
Glenn Demby Staff answered 1 year ago

In Alberta, the default is that employers and employees should agree on the timing of any vacations taken.
So, one option is to accept what amounts to a request for vacation.
However, if no agreement can be reached, the employer is entitled to schedule an employee’s vacation time, with at least 2 weeks written notice.
Employers would be wise to document any attempts to reach agreement on an employee’s vacation time, as the ability to fix an employee’s vacation time depends on the failure to reach such an agreement.
So the options in this situation are:

  1. Accept the request for vacation.
  2. Enter into a process with the employee to reach a suitable agreement on the person’s vacation time.
  3. Failing 1 and 2, to give the employee 2 week’s written notice of his or her vacation.

If the employer does not accept the initial request for vacation and the employee does not return to work, the employer would be within its rights to consider discipline, including treating the refusal as having quit and issuing an ROE with that reason for leaving.

Glenn Demby Staff answered 1 year ago

Thanks Glenn – does the answer change if the company is based in Alberta but the employee works remotely from Ontario?

Glenn Demby Staff answered 1 year ago

By the way, this answer is coming not from me but our payroll expert Alan McEwan. Here’s his reply to your follow up:
Yes the answer would be very different. In Ontario, employees have no say in the timing of their vacation. There doesn’t also appear to be a requirement for employers to give a minimum amount of notice in writing before the an employee’s vacation is to start.
But the rest of the answer would be the same. If the employee does not return to work, he or she may be subject to discipline for what might amount to job abandonment.