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Annual Leave

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    Many organisations say you can take up to three weeks in one go as long as it has your line managers approval. You can ask for longer, but it is then likely to need a "higher" approval from someone more senior.

    Any organisation is highly unlikely to offer you the full holiday allowance in one go though. They know people will need to take time off during the rest of the year. The exception might be if you are part time or work shift patterns and can be more flexible with your time.

    But taking all your holiday allowance in one go for a full time, fixed hours job is probably not a good idea. You will need occasional days off throughout the year for life events/general things that come up (home deliveries/repairs, dentist appointments, family gatherings, that gig/concert you want to go to that is on a week night).

    If you want five weeks off, you might be advised to take part of it as unpaid leave (if they approve that length of time off). Many organisations won't approve the the length of time though, as covering work for that period of time can often become more problematic - it's too short for a temp, but too long to expect colleagues to cover.

    If you are talking about working a four day week for half of the year, then this would actually be a change in working hours discussion rather than annual leave. You would need to check the organisations policy on when you can apply for flexible working hours and what the process is. If agreed you would change your working pattern first, and then potentially supplement your pay cheque with holiday leave pay. Again though, an organisation is unlikely to agree you can use up all your annual leave in this manner, as they will expect you to take periods of time off to rest/relax/recuperate.

    One person I worked with did condensed hours Mon-Thurs (working 9 hour a day instead of 7) and used to have Fridays off through flexible working. They kept their full holiday allowance too.

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    Many organisations have rules about how many people can be on holiday at the same time - or which people can be off at the same time (you wouldn't want all the managers off together, but you also wouldn't want all the cleaners off etc). So you would probably not be allowed to take one day every week off, because by doing so you would be blocking other people from taking off a whole week.

    Some places also have a period of closure over Christmas/New Year. This isn't applicable to all jobs, and probably not even most, but it does exist. You might need to keep holiday days so that you can use them over this period.
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