Holidays can be carried over for two years

The Working Time (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 came into force from 26 March 2020.

The new Regulations relax the restrictions on carrying over untaken annual leave. Any untaken leave can now be carried over into the next two leave years, from the end of the current leave year. This only applies to the four weeks of annual leave provided for under European law and not the additional 1.6 weeks of annual leave provided for by the Working Time Regulations, which is already subject to different rules on carry-over.

The amendment sets out that, where it was ‘not reasonably practicable’ for a worker to take some or all of their leave in the leave year as a result of the effects of COVID-19 (either on the worker, the employer or the wider economy or society) they shall be entitled to carry it forward.

This should reassure employers who are worried about all workers taking their holiday at the end of the current leave year. Additionally, there has been an amendment so that workers can receive a payment in lieu of their holidays if their employment is terminated before they have taken the carried-over leave.

The Regulations also introduce a restriction on an employer’s right to refuse leave on particular days. Under current regulations, an employer may require a worker not to take leave on particular days. The amendment provides that the employer will only be able to require a worker not to take carried-over leave on particular days where the employer has ‘good reason’ to do so, although a definition of ‘good reason’ is not provided.

If you have any queries, please contact our Employment Team on 01228 552600 or 01524 548494.

This alert does not provide a full statement of the law and readers are advised to take legal advice before taking any action based on the information contained herein.

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