Covid-19 and annual leave

Your employees carried annual leave over from the last holiday year. Despite the vaccine, we still face restrictions on holidaying abroad and how we can interact in the UK. So, people may still be reluctant to book annual leave. Eventually, you’ll need everyone at work, not on holiday. So, where do you stand?

Can you just pay in lieu?

It is unlawful to pay workers in lieu of accrued but untaken leave except on termination of employment.

How should you manage annual leave?

Actively encourage workers to take leave throughout the year through regular reminders rather than waiting until later in the year. Remind them that it is important that they take annual leave for their health and well-being. Relaxation away from work is vital even if people don’t go on holiday.

Can you make employees take annual leave?

Yes, providing you give twice as much notice as the length of the leave. So, two weeks’ notice for one weeks’ leave. Maintain morale by giving employees gentle reminders to take their annual leave and why they must do so. If they don’t book it then explain that you can insist on when they take leave, but you want them to take it at the time that they choose. If that still doesn’t work, then give formal notice when they will take annual leave.

What happens to holiday entitlement if you make someone redundant?

You can pay in lieu of accrued but untaken annual leave. Alternatively, you may require employees to take annual leave during their notice period, whether they work their notice or spend it on garden leave. If your garden leave clause doesn’t allow for it, then make sure the notice period is long enough to cover both the required notice and the leave itself. Pay for any leftover holiday.