do you have the right to refuse processing?

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Summer is the holiday season. However, while one is resting, the other often has to work for two. Is it legal and can something be done? Answers Labor inspection.

The reader asks: Many employees of our company go on vacation at the same time, and the employer does not see this as a problem. Those who stay at work must work for several colleagues at once, which makes it impossible to take a break at all. At the same time, there is no additional charge for replacement for us. How many people should I work for?

Kaire Saarep, Head of the Prevention Department of the Labor Inspectorate, answers:

As a rule, the employer must think in advance who will replace workers during the holidays. This should be taken care of even when drawing up a vacation schedule, which is approved from January to March. Even then, the employer can agree with the employees about who will rest and when, and also think about who will replace them.

In the event that the company did not correctly plan the vacation schedule, the parties must agree with each other and come to reasonable compromises. If it is necessary to find a replacement for one or more workers, then it is obvious that all their tasks can no longer be performed in full. It is necessary to discuss and agree on which tasks should be completed first and which can be postponed. It seems unlikely that one person is able to do the same amount of work that several workers do in a working day.

Most often, when applying for a job, it has already been agreed in the job description who will replace whom. If there are no such agreements, then you should immediately ask your employer whether it means that you are replacing an employee only for the duration of the vacation, or also in case of illness. It is in order to know such details that you should carefully read the job description. Close attention should be paid to this precisely because the law does not provide for any additional payment for replacement. If the replacement of a colleague is provided for in the job description, then this is part of the labor obligations. If the replacement of a colleague is not stipulated anywhere, and the work responsibilities of the colleague do not coincide with what the employee usually does, then in this case, even before agreeing to the replacement, you can agree on an additional payment.

If the work of a substituted colleague requires more time than provided for by the substitute employee’s employment contract, the employer and the employee must conclude an overtime agreement. The employee has the right to refuse overtime work.

With an increased workload, one should not forget about rest breaks, since the employee must be able to recuperate. Statistics show that tired workers become more distracted, which often leads to accidents at work.

In order to exercise their rights, the employee must warn the employer. For example, letting know about the need to organize rest breaks, that the replacement involves overtime, etc. If these issues were not agreed before the holidays, then they need to be addressed before any problems arise. If necessary, such agreements can be made in any form that can be reproduced in writing, for example, by e-mail.

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