Leaving annual leave too late

We are receiving a lot of enquiries regarding staff holiday and holiday-pay during coronavirus.
As we ease our way out of lockdown restrictions, it is important to be aware of the rules for the remainder of 2020, as workforces need to be managed for the next six months.

A lot of employers hoping for an upturn in trade are unlikely to want all of their staff using up holiday in September and October and will therefore prefer for staff to use some of leave now whilst business is quiet.

Employers can require their staff to take holiday as long as they give them enough notice to do so. The notice period required is double the length of holiday that the employer wishes the worker to take.

UK employees and workers should receive 5.6 weeks of annual leave as a minimum. Furloughed workers are entitled to take annual leave without disrupting their furlough leave but their holiday pay is not necessarily the same as their furlough pay. This amount varies according to the situation but in many cases workers will receive their normal remuneration. This is appealing for furloughed workers because they could get a higher rate of pay.

Even when workers aren’t furloughed, employers should consider the need to encourage staff to take time off now in order that they don’t have lots to take later in the year, when business should be busier.

There is also a mental-health perspective to consider as it is not good for employees to
work solidly for six months without time off.

The Government has introduced a new temporary law allowing employees and workers to carry over up to four weeks’ paid holiday into the next two holiday-leave years. This is definitely beneficial to businesses that have remained busy during the pandemic and maybe can’t facilitate employees taking time off at the moment.

ACAS suggests that the best approach is to maintain good communication with staff – be as flexible as possible, discuss concerns, consider everyone’s wellbeing, and acknowledge it is a difficult time.