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Coronavirus: Holiday Help for Employers

The government has announced that employees who have not taken all of their statutory annual leave entitlement due to coronavirus will now be able to carry some of it over into the next two holiday years.

The change is aimed at allowing businesses under particular pressure from the impacts of coronavirus the flexibility to better manage their workforce, while protecting employees’ rights to paid holiday.

Background and  Announcement

As you may already be aware, employees have a right to a statutory minimum holiday entitlement of 5.6 weeks. This is made up of four weeks holiday the right to which comes from EU law and an additional 1.6 weeks holiday the right to which comes from UK law. This has led to differences in the rules for how parts of holiday entitlement can be treated. Currently, employees must take at least four weeks leave in each holiday year, only in limited circumstances can any of this be carried over to another leave year. This can mean that untaken holiday is lost, although there is an obligation on an employer to ensure that their employees have an adequate opportunity to take their holiday. Employers and employees can agree that some or all of the 1.6 weeks of additional holiday can be carried over into the next holiday year.

The government announcement says that where it is not reasonably practicable for an employee to take some, or all, of the holiday to which they are entitled due to the coronavirus, they will have a right to carry up to four weeks of untaken holiday into the next two leave years. The 1.6 weeks’ additional leave will not be affected by the change as it can be carried over for up to a year by agreement under existing law.

At the time of writing the legislation had yet to be published, we will keep you up to date with any developments in this area. In the meantime, if you would like assistance with an employment law matter please do not hesitate to contact Kingfisher Professional Services Ltd as we are happy to help.