Annual Leave Rules Relaxed

Rules on carrying over annual leave relaxed by Government

During this pandemic employees will continue to accrue annual leave as normal. Normally, employees are required to use their statutory annual leave (5.6 weeks) in the year in which it accrues, unless they are on a form of family leave or, employers allow carry over of a limited number into the next year, usually a maximum of 5.

One way to stop a large amount of annual leave accruing without being taken, is to give notice to employees requiring them to take leave. Employers can make employees take leave on specific dates however the notice must be at least twice the length of the period of leave that the employee is being asked to take.

If employers do not feel comfortable doing this, or where it is not reasonably practicable for staff to take leave due to the outbreak, the Government has amended the Working Time Regulations to allow statutory holidays accrued this year to be carried forward for up to two years.

The carry over amount is limited to four weeks’ statutory leave. Statutory holidays above this amount (1.6 weeks, which for some staff will include the bank holidays) should be taken this year.

Contractual holidays over and above the 5.6 weeks statutory entitlement are a matter for agreement between employers and staff. Employers can allow a larger amount than usual to be carried over or ask for these to be taken during specific dates.

Nargis Khan, Managing Consultant, Bradfield HR

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