Carrying over holiday after coronavirus furlough period

Carrying over holiday after coronavirus furlough period

Rules on carrying over holiday when furloughed on the coronavirus job retention scheme

The government announced at the end of last week that they will amend laws on carrying over holiday.

Paul Burton summarises the changes, which come as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, in this article.

If you would like to read Paul’s comprehensive guide to employment law for employers during the coronavirus outbreak, please click here.

Annual leave: Use it or lose it

Currently, full-time workers are entitled to a minimum of 28 days holiday per annum, including bank holidays, however the majority of this cannot be carried over into the following year if it is unused.

This means people lose their leave allowance if they don’t use it before the year-end.

Chris Dobbs’ recent article on carrying over holiday leave can be found here.

This will now change.

Annual leave and the coronavirus

Workers who are unable to take all of their statutory annual leave entitlement by the end of 2020 due to the coronavirus outbreak will now be able to carry it over into the next two years.

Business secretary Alok Sharma announced on Friday that the measures would come into force immediately.

The announcement comes after pressure from employers and the CBI. Furloughed workers returning may have had to take a large amount of leave in a short space of time, leaving businesses short-staffed whilst trying to recover.

Do I still accrue holiday when furloughed?

Yes, furloughed workers will still accrue holiday at their normal rate.

This is why the legislation is important, as the situation could otherwise lead to a rush for workers to take all of their annual leave just as their businesses need them the most.

For a more detailed overview of the furlough workers / coronavirus job retention scheme, you can read this article.

How much leave will workers be able to carry over due to coronavirus?

New regulations will allow up to four weeks of unused leave to be carried over into the next two years, in order to ease the strain on recovering businesses.

Coronavirus amendments to Working Time Regulations

The changes will temporarily amend the Working Time Regulations 1998, which apply to almost all workers, including:

  • Agency workers
  • Workers on zero-hours contracts
  • Workers of irregular hours

Employment specialist Paul Burton on the changes

These changes will come as welcome relief to both employers and employees. A rush for workers to take holiday at a time they are needed the most, as the economy tries to recover, could have been potentially disastrous for businesses and the economy alike.

It is a sensible move and will be welcomed by most.”

Business Secretary Alok Sharma on the changes:

“Whether it is in our hospitals, or our supermarkets, people are working around the clock to help our country deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

Today’s changes will mean these valued employees do not lose out on the annual leave they are entitled to as a result of their efforts, and employers are not penalised.”

Environment Secretary George Eustice:

“From our fields to our supermarkets, we are hugely grateful to the many people working around the clock to keep the nation fed.

At this crucial time, relaxing laws on statutory leave will help ensure key workers can continue the important work to keep supplies flowing, but without losing the crucial time off they are entitled to.

We welcome the measures the food industry is already taking to keep shelves stocked and supply chains resilient, and will continue to support them with their response to coronavirus.” 

Employment law updates during the coronavirus outbreak

We will post any announcements, along with advice for employers and HR professionals as soon as we are able. These will be shared on our website and on social media.

Our Employment and HR newsletter will continue to be sent out monthly, though as important information is announced by the government, we may send this to you more frequently.

Our quarterly employment seminars are postponed until further notice, though we are looking into ways of delivering these online.

We have a dedicated coronavirus page, where we will post links to all articles, fact sheets and downloads concerning the outbreak and implications for businesses.