Relaxation of rules on carrying over annual leave

The Government has announced that, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, workers who have not taken all of their statutory annual leave entitlement as a result of coronavirus will now be able to carry it over into the next two leave years.

The announcement is available here, and states that:

Workers who have not taken all of their statutory annual leave entitlement due to COVID-19 will now be able to carry it over into the next two leave years, under measures introduced by Business Secretary Alok Sharma on Friday 27 March.

Currently, almost all workers are entitled to 28 days holiday including bank holidays each year. However, most of this entitlement cannot be carried between leave years, meaning workers lose their holiday if they do not take it.

There is also an obligation on employers to ensure their workers take their statutory entitlement in any one year – failure to do so could result in a financial penalty.

The regulations will allow up to 4 weeks of unused leave to be carried into the next two leave years, easing the requirements on business to ensure that workers take statutory amount of annual leave in any one year.

This will mean staff can continue working in the national effort against the coronavirus without losing out on annual leave entitlement.

The changes will also ensure all employers affected by COVID-19 have the flexibility to allow workers to carry over leave at a time when granting annual leave could leave them short-staffed in some of Britain’s key industries, such as food and healthcare.

The changes will amend the Working Time Regulations, which apply to almost all workers, including agency workers, those who work irregular hours, and workers on zero-hours contracts.

The change is aimed at allowing businesses under particular pressure from the impacts of COVID-19 the flexibility to better manage their workforce, while protecting workers’ right to paid holiday.

You can read more about this update here.