Coronavirus COVID-19: FAQ’s – Annual Leave

Lizzie Buxton

Written By Sarah Robinson, Technical HR Consultant

7th April 2020

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What happens with annual leave during coronavirus ‘lockdown’?

In most situations’ employees should use their annual leave in the current annual leave year.

If an employee wants to cancel or change pre booked annual leave because they are not able to travel for example, then this will need to be agreed by you. As it is likely you will have lots of employees cancelling or delaying annual leave, you may want to agree principles to ensure annual leave is still taken throughout the year.

Unless your contract says otherwise, you can tell employees when to use annual leave, for example if you need to close for a short period or want to ensure annual leave is used, but you will need to give twice the amount of notice as the length of the holiday.

Similarly, if you need an employee to cancel their annual leave, if for example they are a key worker, unless your contract states otherwise you can do this. You will need to give the same amount of notice as the length of the holiday. If you are going to ask people to cancel leave, be mindful of the impact this may have on an employee and listen to their concerns.

If employees are unable to take all of their annual leave, because they are a key worker for example, or have been laid off, new legislation states that employees can carry up to 4 weeks’ annual leave over to the next 2 holiday years. If you pay extra holiday (above the 4 weeks) you can decide whether you will allow any of this to be carried over also, unless you already have an agreement in place.

If employees are unable to take bank holidays off due to coronavirus they should use their holiday at a later date. If this is not possible bank holidays can be included in the 4 weeks carried over.



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