Introduction to this document

Request to buy or sell holiday form

Where you have implemented a policy enabling staff to potentially buy or sell a proportion of their annual leave entitlement, issue our form to them to enable them to put in their requests for the forthcoming holiday year. Set an annual deadline for receipt of applications.

Key provisions

The detailed rules of the scheme should be set out in your Buying and Selling Holiday Policy so you don’t need to repeat them on the form, but what we have done on our Request to Buy or Sell Holiday Form is to reiterate the key provisions, i.e. the maximum amount of annual leave that can be bought or sold, confirmation that there’s no contractual right to buy or sell as the scheme is operated at your discretion, the deadline for return of the form and the requirement for the employee’s signed written consent if their request is approved. If you fail to obtain the employee’s written consent to a salary sacrifice arrangement (which applies when additional annual leave is bought) but then make deductions from their salary, you’re leaving yourself open to a claim for unlawful deductions from wages even though they applied on the form to buy the annual leave in the first place.

Essential discretion

It’s important that you do retain your discretion here. Until the application closing date each holiday year, you won’t know how many employees want to apply to buy or sell holiday and how this is likely to affect the running of your business. For example, you will want to assess how many employees in a particular team or department have made an application before you can decide what you can accommodate and what you can’t - and to what extent you can set off requests to buy against requests to sell. Be fair and act consistently. It may be that if too many employees have sought to buy (resulting in possible understaffing at certain times) or too many employees have sought to sell (resulting in a potentially larger than expected increase in your wage bill), you may decide that the fairest solution is either to reject all applications or to grant them all but on a pro rata basis only.

Statement of intent

Our form asks the employee to specify what their current annual leave entitlement is and the number of working days of annual leave that they would like to either buy or sell in the forthcoming holiday year. Note that it’s important they specify working days here, not calendar days – you grant annual leave based on working days. They then have to declare they understand that a request to buy would result in a commensurate reduction in salary and a request to sell would result in an increase in salary for the whole of the holiday year.