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Holiday Entitlement during Covid 19

While it was confirmed in April that furloughed workers could themselves request to take annual leave without breaking furlough, many questions remained.

Here’s some key elements as it currently stands today:

  • An employee can ask an employer to take annual leave during their furlough leave period. Where the annual leave is authorised, an employee’s days of annual leave should be topped up to 100% of their normal remunerations. Therefore, an employer would need to top up the 80% or pro-rata £2500 cap furlough grant.
  • If an employee usually has bank holidays off and this is a contractual entitlement, their employer will need to either top up their pay to their normal holiday pay (i.e. 100% of normal renumeration) or give the employee a day off in lieu. If you did not do this in April, it is arguable that you could do this retrospectively for April but make it clear that you are doing this.

We were still awaiting guidance at this time as to whether an employer could dictate whether an employee had to take holiday during furlough leave. On Wednesday 13th May, the government confirmed after the relaxed lockdown, updated guidance on holiday. It is now confirmed that:

  • Employers can ‘require’ employees to take holiday furlough as long as the appropriate notice is given (this is the same notice as would normally be applied which is double the time to be taken i.e. 2 days’ notice for 1 days holiday)
  • Interestingly, there is also a statement in the updated guidance that mentions that those employees that are currently on furlough leave are unlikely to have holiday to carry over into the next holiday year as they have the ability to have used that holiday during their furlough leave unlike those that have been working and, therefore, unable to take their leave entitlement.  This is consistent with the government now viewing the relaxed lockdown as employees being able to relax and enjoy the time.

Businesses will want to consider the cost implications of furloughed employees not taking holiday whilst furloughed, together the bottle neck when businesses get back to work and employees all take holiday later this year an also, the morale to those still working if employees don’t take holiday while furloughed!

This is a constantly evolving situation and we are doing our best to keep you up to date with the changes as they come in. Please find the full updated guidance link below for your further review here.

If you have any further questions regarding holiday or any other employment related matter please do speak to us directly or contact