Holidays & Carry-Over Leave

The government advice on carry over leave is that workers who have not taken all of their statutory annual leave entitlement due to COVID-19 will now be able to carry it over into the next 2 leave years.

The amendment to the Working Time Regulations, which was announced on 27 March 2020, has been put in place to support employees unable to take time off during the Covid-19 pandemic and will apply to almost all workers, including agency workers, those who work irregular hours and workers on zero-hours contracts.

Employees will be able to carry over up to four weeks unused annual leave, which needs to be taken over the next two years, easing the requirements on employers to guarantee that staff take their full annual leave in the current year. This means employees can continue working against the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic without fear of losing out on annual leave entitlements.

So who are they talking about specifically?

The change is aimed at giving businesses under particular pressure from the impacts of Covid-19 the flexibility to better manage their workforce while protecting workers’ right to paid holiday.

Alok Sharma, secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy said: ” Whether it is in our hospitals or our supermarkets, people are working around the clock to help our country deal with the Coronavirus pandemic.


If employees are not key workers can the employer enforce employees to take leave during this holiday year?

Yes, employers can ask employees to take their leave within this leave year if they are not key workers and they are provided with enough notice. Employers must give double the period of notice for a holiday so if you want your employee to take a week off, you need to give at least 2 weeks’ notice of this. We envisage that a lot of employees will keep their holidays and want to carry it over when they have had the opportunity to take the leave while being at work or on Furlough.

If you would like further advice on Annual Leave and asking your employees to take some leave please get in touch!

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