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New law: Employers need to plan for new COVID-19 entitlement for workers to carry holiday forward for two years

Employers should consider which workers will be entitled to carry four weeks’ annual leave forward, for up to two years, and the impact of that on future staffing levels, under new laws saying they can – provided the reason they could not take it in the year it accrued is because of the coronavirus.

May 2020

This update was published in Legal Alert - May 2020

Legal Alert is a monthly checklist from Atom Content Marketing highlighting new and pending laws, regulations, codes of practice and rulings that could have an impact on your business.

Previously, workers were only allowed to carry untaken parts of their annual leave forward to their next holiday year if they were unable to take it due to illness.

New laws say that they are automatically entitled to carry the four weeks' leave they are entitled to under EU law (but not the remaining 1.6 weeks' statutory leave they are also entitled to under UK law) forward for up to two years, starting from the end of the year in which it accrued, provided it was ‘not reasonably practicable’ for them to take it in the year it accrued, because of the coronavirus.

It is not necessary for the worker or a relative to have been ill with coronavirus. It could have been ‘not reasonably practicable’ for them to take holiday because, for example, they are essential workers required to work through the pandemic, or their employer is making emergency products for the NHS.

Operative date

  • Now

Recommendation

  • Employers should consider which workers will be entitled to carry their four weeks’ annual leave forward, and the impact of that on staffing levels.

Disclaimer: This article from Atom Content Marketing is for general guidance only, for businesses in the United Kingdom governed by the laws of England. Atom Content Marketing, expert contributors and ICAEW (as distributor) disclaim all liability for any errors or omissions.

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