At Hatton Garden BID we are committed to keeping our local businesses and community up to date as we move through these uncertain times. As part of this continued effort, we wanted to provide some clarity on the latest government advice on holiday entitlement during the coronavirus crisis.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
has released official guidance with regards to annual leave for employees both in work or on furlough. This is in line with emergency legislation passed for carrying forward annual leave, and reflects the unprecedented circumstances which both employers and their employees are currently navigating.
In essence, the necessary updates aim to protect the rights of all parties and give employers flexibility to respond to the pandemic and support their staff accordingly. Holiday might hold a different meaning from that taken during past summers, but our need for time off and respite is more important than ever.
Below we’ve listed the key takeaways for the businesses and residents of Hatton Garden.
To read the document in full, please click here.
Carrying Forward Annual Leave
According to new legislation, workers can carry forward leave where the impact of coronavirus has prevented them from taking it during the leave year to which it correlates.
Any such leave can be carried forwards into the following two leave years.
Before calculating leave which can be carried forward, employers should consider the following factors:
- Whether increased business demand has required a worker to remain at work rather than take holiday.
- Whether the business’ workforce has been disrupted and unable to provide temporary cover for the disruption.
- Whether rest is required for the welfare of the worker.
- Whether there is enough time remaining in the worker’s leave year for them to take their holiday at a later date.
- Whether the worker was prevented from taking leave because doing so would have had implicated wider society’s response to and recovery from the coronavirus situation.
- Whether the remainder of the workforce is able to provide cover for the worker going on leave.
It goes without saying that although we may not be able to take a 'holiday' that involves foreign travel, breaks from work to rest and relax are still important for overall wellbeing. With this in mind, employees should look to take at least a few days' holiday over the coming weeks; and employers should encourage this to ensure workers don't reach burn out.
Workers who have been placed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme can:
Annual Leave for Furloughed Workers
- Continue to accrue their statutory and contractual holiday entitlements.
- Can take leave without disrupting their furlough.
- Must be given the standard notice periods if being refused or required to take leave.
- Must be paid the correct holiday pay.
- Are entitled to bank holidays either as annual leave (at the correct holiday pay) or as deferred leave
- Are able to carry forward leave (as above) if the employer is unable to fund the holiday pay amount. For most workers this will be higher than the 80% government grants for workers on furlough. If the employer cannot top up the 20% difference, this is a reasonable reason for an employee to say they’re unable to take holiday and to carry that leave forward.
Employers can still:
Important information for employers
The required notice periods are:
- Require workers to take holiday
- Cancel a worker’s holiday, if they give enough notice to the worker
- Double the length of the holiday if the employer wishes to require a worker to take holiday on particular days
- The length of the planned holiday if the employer wishes to cancel a worker’s holiday or require the worker not to take holiday on particular dates#
Workers who are on furlough are less likely to need to carry forward statutory annual leave, as they will be able to take it during the furlough period (in most cases at least, so long as employers can pay the difference to ensure they receive their full holiday pay).
Workers on furlough can take holiday without disrupting their furlough. The notice requirements for their employer requiring a worker to take leave or to refuse a request for leave continue to apply. Employers should engage with their workforce and explain reasons for wanting them to take leave before requiring them to do so.
If an employer requires a worker to take holiday while on furlough, the employer should consider whether any restrictions the worker is under - such as the need to socially distance or self-isolate - would prevent the worker from resting, relaxing and enjoying leisure time, which is the fundamental purpose of holiday,
and make a decision based on the employee's best interests.
To read the government’s advice in full, please click here.