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New Rules on Carrying Over Annual Leave During COVID-19 Crisis

Mar 27, 2020

The new regulations will allow up to 4 weeks of unused leave to be carried into the next 2 leave years, easing the requirements on business to ensure that workers take statutory amount of annual leave in any one year.

Rules on carrying over annual leave to be relaxed to support key industries during COVID-19

Business Secretary Alok Sharma today (Friday 27 March) announced that workers who have not taken all of their statutory annual leave entitlement due to COVID-19 will now be able to carry it over into the next 2 leave years, under measures introduced by the (as yet unpublished) Working Time (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 which amends regulation 13 of the Working Time Regulations which apply to almost all workers, including agency workers, those who work irregular hours, and workers on zero-hours contracts.

The regulations will allow up to 4 weeks of unused leave to be carried into the next 2 leave years, easing the requirements on business to ensure that workers take statutory amount of annual leave in any one year.  The balance of 1.6 weeks’ statutory leave will not be affected (although it can be carried over for up to a year by agreement under existing law).

This will mean staff can continue working in the national effort against the coronavirus without losing out on annual leave entitlement.

Business Secretary Alok Sharma said:  “Today’s changes will mean these valued employees do not lose out on the annual leave they are entitled to as a result of their efforts, and employers are not penalised.”

The Working Time (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 amends the Working Time Regulations 1998 to create a further exemption relating specifically to COVID-19. Where it is not reasonably practicable for a worker to take some, or all, of the holiday to which they are entitled due to the coronavirus, they have a right to carry the 4 weeks under regulation 13 into the next 2 leave years. This will not apply to the 1.6 weeks under regulation 13A leave, but this can be carried forward one year by agreement between workers and employers.

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Employment Law Updates

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