One of the most popular questions on furlough is managing annual leave.
Annual leave rules state the employer can insist staff take annual leave at certain times providing that they give twice the length of notice as the leave staff are required to take. Notice should be in writing.
Example: if the Employer wants staff to take 5 days leave they must give 10 days notice. Most employers are managing annual leave this way and it is allowed under the legislation.
New temporary legislation was passed that allows people to carry over up to 4wks unused annual leave into the next two holiday years. However this is for a situation where an employee was unable to take their annual leave.
As I see it the intention of the legislation is to protect two groups
First – key workers who have been on the front line and were unable to take leave because they needed to be in work and their employers were unable to permit holidays. This means the employee keeps their holiday entitlement and can use it next year etc
The second group are those businesses who cannot afford to pay their staff for holiday when they are on furlough. Furlough overs 80% and for small business which have no cash / income because their doors are closed would be unable to pay the extra 20% to bring the employee up to a full day rate for holiday leave. By allowing those businesses to carry over holiday leave this ensures the employees will keep their entitlement but also protects those businesses from further financial loss when they are already closed.
The lockdown and furlough happened so quickly the legislation was rushed out. Govt have since had time to put in place these measures about carry over and clarified these issues. As a profession we are being advised that those employers who can afford to pay the employee their full holiday pay should get staff to use holiday when on furlough, this managing their leave and encouraging staff to take holiday leave in the year in which it accrues. Providing they give the appropriate written notice period of twice the length of notice for the holiday being taken.
As with all things HR, communication is key. Start now!
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