Employee denied holiday but goes off with Stress….what could you do to avoid this??

What to do when an employee has been denied part of his holiday request due to business reasons (another employee already off) but he is now signed of with stress for 2 weeks to include holiday.  


The employee has stated that they have no one to look after the children……This is a struggle for any employer. If an employee has nobody to look after their children what on earth do we expect them to do? Leave the children on their own..?  Bring them to work with them…? I know it’s not the responsibility of the company to ensure childcare but on occasions and with the best will in the world, it is possible to be totally stuck therefore the options as a parent are limited.


In my opinion, the employee has gone down the correct route in terms of being honest and asking for the time off particularly if they know a colleague is also off at the same time, they have followed the right process. We in turn as employers should be trying to find a solution to allow him to care for his children while balancing the needs of the business.  Consider flexible working/agree to answer emails? Work from home? Shorter day etc etc – also consider ‘can you get by for two days’.
I would be asking the employee at his RTW how the situation made him feel and trying to prevent this happening again. Get everything back on an even keel and perhaps offer to support the employee in the future if childcare issues arise.

Consequences
Maybe you could look at the impact it would have had on the business for him to be off as well as his colleague, other than relying on the policy of no more than 1 person off. If he had childcare issues then he could have been granted an unpaid day off  – this would have kept him engaged, your company could have but plans in place for the days requested as he gave notice),  and there wouldn’t be any questions over whether he is ‘genuinely’ sick, no need for a RTW – saving both yours and his time and the  employee would have come back grateful and engaged rather than annoyed. He may also now claim back his holiday allowance as he has a cert for Sick Leave.