With most annual leave years running January to December, employees should have taken most of their holiday by now. Even with the current pandemic employers should still be encouraging employees to take annual leave.
What is the importance of annual leave? Quite simply it allows employees to take regular breaks from work so they can rest and switch off from their work to accommodate a reasonable work-life balance. It is vital to take regular breaks from work to rest and for both physical and mental health. It should enable employees to return to work with increased motivation and productivity. There may be less likelihood of these employees suffering from stress, which may also mean a reduction in sickness absence, in comparison to those who do not take regular annual leave breaks.
However, Coronavirus has impacted on some employees’ ability to take annual leave as they usually would have. As a result of this, the Government has introduced a new law allowing employees and workers to carry over up to 4 weeks’ paid holiday into their next 2 holiday leave years. This law applies for any holiday the employee does not take because of Coronavirus. Examples include if they’re self-isolating or too sick to take holiday before the end of their leave year, if they’ve had to continue working and could not take paid holiday or if they’ve been furloughed and could not reasonably use it in their holiday year. There is a clear difference between someone who is unable to take their annual leave due to Coronavirus and someone who is wanting to carry over leave to enable them to go abroad for example, rather than having a staycation this year.
It is recommended that those responsible should review the current holiday balances for employees and to speak to them about booking in any remaining outstanding annual leave before the end of the leave year where possible. Some employers will already have an agreement to carry over paid holiday and this will stand. If there are no agreements in place, employees and line managers should discuss this individually to agree on what amount may be carried forward. Employers can enforce holiday by giving the correct notice (at least twice as much notice as the amount of leave to be taken) but this is should be as a last resort.
If you are relying on spreadsheets or paper forms to manage your annual leave for employees and are seeking a more streamlined, automated way to do this, please do get in touch as our advo Absence Management portal can record annual leave as well as other types of absence in a fuss-free way! We would be happy to demo this system for you.