Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, employers should have been encouraging their workers and employees to take their paid holiday including bank holiday days. Furloughed workers have also been entitled to use their paid leave, whilst on furlough and receive full pay. Therefore, employees should have been making requests for paid holiday throughout their holiday year, where it was possible.
Where it has not been possible for employees to use their holiday entitlement, the government has set a new law that allows them to carry over up to 4 weeks’ paid holiday, including the bank holidays not taken, into the next 2 years of employment.
This law applies where it is not reasonably practicable for a worker to take some, or all, of the holiday to which they are entitled due to the coronavirus.
Some reasons why employees may not have been able to take paid holiday due to continuing to work are as follows:
- The business has faced a significant increase in demand due to coronavirus that would reasonably require the worker to continue to be at work and cannot be met through alternative practical measures
- The extent to which the business’ workforce is disrupted by the coronavirus and the practical options available to the business to provide temporary cover of essential activities
- The health of the worker and how soon they need to take a period of rest and relaxation
- The length of time remaining in the worker’s leave year, to enable the worker to take holiday later within the leave year
- The extent to which the worker taking leave would impact on wider society’s response to, and recovery from, the coronavirus situation
- The ability of the remainder of the available workforce to provide cover for the worker going on leave
If you have an employee that leaves or is dismissed, they must be paid (in their final pay) for any unused or carried over holiday entitlement.
If you don’t have an agreement in place for carrying over annual leave, it is your decision as an employer as to whether you will allow extra holiday (more than the 4 weeks' paid holiday) to be carried over. Extra holiday may include:
- The remaining statutory annual leave
- Holiday which is more than the legal minimum
If any agreement is made, it's a good idea for it to be in writing.
Alternatively, you may decide that you wish for all your employees to use their entitlement before the annual leave year ends. For example, you could shut the business for a week and ask all your employees to use their holiday entitlement. To do this you must inform your employees of your decision for at least twice as many days before as the amount of days you are requiring your employees to take. For example, if closing for 5 days then you must inform your employees at least 10 days before. This would not be applicable to employees that are on sick leave or on statutory leave (i.e. maternity / paternity leave).
If you have any questions or concerns about holiday leave or any people management matters, please do not hesitate to contact the Alcumus PSM HR team for assistance on 01484 439 930 or email [email protected]
Alcumus PSM (People & Safety Management) specialises in human resources (HR) and health and safety (H&S) consulting for small and medium-sized enterprises.
Written by Georgia Grundy, HR Consultant Support