Although a lot of employees are working from home at the moment, they are still entitled to take time off as holiday (even if at the moment, there may not be anywhere nice for them to go!).
Under statute, a full time employee is entitled to a minimum of 28 days holiday a year. The contract of employment may allow for more, but 28 days is the minimum. Subject to some specific exceptions, an employee must use their holiday entitlement in their holiday leave year or, unless the employer agrees otherwise, it will be lost.
As a result of the Coronavirus crisis, there has been a change in the law regarding the taking of holidays. Now, an employee can carry over up to 20 days holiday per holiday leave year into the following two holiday leave years.
However, an employee will only be able to do this if it was not reasonably practicable for them to take their holiday as a result of the effects of Coronavirus. This could be, for example, because the employee is self-isolating and too sick to take holiday, or, say, because they work in a hospital and are not able to take leave. An employer may prevent the carrying over of leave if they have “good reason” but so far it is unclear what this would be.
From an employer’s point of view, they may not want employees to be accruing too much holiday in the current crisis, only for lots of employees to then start requesting to take holiday once the crisis subsides and people stop working from home.
An option for an employer to deal with this is to require an employee to take holiday at a particular time (even if the employee is working from home).
The employee must be given notice of this, and the notice must be twice as long as the length of holiday the employer would like the employee to take. So, for example if an employer would like an employee to take 5 days holiday, it must give the employee 10 days’ notice of this.
If you have any employment law queries, please do not hesitate to contact David Nathan at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 020 7822 2247.
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