The Government has announced that existing rules around annual leave will be relaxed to allow workers who have not used their statutory annual leave entitlement this year due to COVID-19 to carry it over into the next two years.
Most full-time British workers are entitled to 28 days holiday each year, including bank holidays.
However, unless allowed for within an individual’s existing work contract or an employer’s workplace policies, this entitlement cannot normally be carried between leave years (the 12-month period during which holiday time is recorded), which means that a worker can lose their paid holiday time if they do not use it.
Employers are required by law to try and ensure their workers take their statutory entitlement in any one year, with penalties issued against those who fail to do so.
The new measure introduced by the Government will allow workers to carry up to four weeks of unused leave into the next two leave years, thus reducing the chance of an employer being penalised and freeing up the time for employees in key sectors.
It is hoped that this change will allow staff to continue working as part of a national effort against the Coronavirus without them losing out on missed holiday.
The changes amend the existing Working Time Regulations that apply to almost all workers, including agency workers, those who work irregular hours, and workers on zero-hours contracts.
Despite the change, there remains an obligation on an employer to ensure that their workers have an adequate opportunity to take their holiday.
This holiday cannot be replaced with a payment in lieu unless the worker is leaving their employment.