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Carrying Over Annual Leave due to COVID-19

The government has announced that the Working Time Regulations will be amended to allow workers to carry over up to 4 weeks of their annual leave into the next 2 years.

The change will apply to almost all workers, including agency workers, those who work irregular hours, and workers on zero hours contracts.

It’s worth having in mind that this amendment only applies to the first 4 weeks of annual leave, the statutory holiday entitlement.

Any holiday that the worker has already taken at this point in the holiday year will count towards their ‘first four weeks’. This may reduce the amount they can carry over under the new provisions and you should calculate this on a case by case basis.

This move is designed to benefit workers, to ensure they do not lose their statutory holiday entitlement as a result of the ongoing corona virus crisis.

For example, either where employees are required to work at all times (e.g. keyworkers) where no annual leave will be authorised during this period and/or where employees are not required to work at all (e.g. furloughed workers) and therefore will not need to take annual leave. We are expecting further guidance to be issued relating to annual leave and furloughed workers in due course and will provide a separate update on this point.

The move will also support businesses by relaxing the requirements and potential sanctions related to ensuring workers take their statutory holiday allowance in one year. This will also allow better flexibility to manage staffing levels following the crisis, by allowing annual leave to be taken over a longer period.

For more information or bespoke advice on this legislation, please contact a member of our employment law team or click here to send an email.

Posted on April 14, 2020

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