The area of holidays and furlough is still unclear. Government guidance doesn’t specifically address what happens with holidays and furlough. So what do you do if you’re asked by an employee?
Does annual leave accrue during furlough?
Yes, employment rights continue including the right to accrue leave.
Can you make an employee take annual leave during furlough?
We don’t know the answer to this because the Government haven’t answered the question. In all other areas of leave it isn’t possible for someone to have two statuses eg you can’t be on holiday and off sick, you can’t be at work and on holiday. On that basis we are finding it difficult to imagine that we will be able to put people on leave when on furlough.
If you want to put people on leave whilst they are on furlough, the least you should do is
- pay them 100% of their normal pay
- give them the required notice to take leave
If an employee has pre-booked holiday and now wants to cancel do I have to agree?
No you don’t have to agree to this, but, see above, we think that you should pay them 100%. The legislation around carry over of leave has been relaxed. Employees are allowed to carry over 20 days of their entitlement from this year if they have been unable to use it. Employees have two years to use this leave that they have carried over.
Can I make an employee take paid leave?
This has been an employer’s right since the Working Time Regulations came into force in the UK. You have to give an employee twice as much notice as the length of leave that you want them to take. For example, if you want an employee to take two weeks’ leave you must give them four weeks’ notice that they will be on leave for those two weeks.
Does taking a period of leave break a period of furlough?
Again, the Government are not giving guidance on this. We think it safer to assume that taking a period of leave resets the clock. For eample if someone completes three weeks of furlough and then takes one week of leave, we are advising that you need to put the employee back on furlough for a minimum of three weeks.
Can I “buy” holidays back off employees?
If you offer contractual leave to your employees, that is leave in excess of 28 days (including bank holidays) you may have scope to do this. If you are worried that you are going to struggle to enable all your employees to take their leave entitlement this year, you may choose to offer to buy holidays from employees. We recommend that if you are doing this, you make it an offer available to everybody and that you do not force anyone to take part in this initiative.
Are you struggling to find definitive information on holidays and furlough? Call us now on 01706 565332. We can help you.
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