If an employee is too unwell to enjoy the benefit of their annual leave, the law allows them to have the period of annual leave converted to sick leave and for the annual leave to be taken at a later date. The employee must tell you right away if this situation applies to them and they want to cancel their annual leave.
For an employee who wishes to cancel pre-approved holiday, you can respond to this in the manner that best suits the business. If you are short of staff, you can agree and let them take their holiday another time. On the other hand, if you are short of work, you can insist that the pre-booked holidays are taken.
Subject to what we say in the final paragraph of this answer, yes. You need to give the employee double the amount of notice for the length of holiday they are required to take, so if you want to require an employee to take one week’s paid holiday, you will need to give them two weeks’ advance notice in writing.
If you can reach agreement with employees to take holidays, this can be done at very short notice. The need to give double the notice for the length of holiday only applies when you are imposing the requirement without agreement.
Now that the government has announced that untaken annual leave due to the coronavirus outbreak can be carried over (see question 3 below), some commentators are suggesting it may be considered an abuse of the annual leave laws for an employer to force employees on furlough to use up their annual leave entitlement by giving notice requiring them to take holidays during furlough. We would advise employers to try to strike a balance between not having too much annual leave stored up in the system when furlough ends on one hand, and giving employees the chance to “enjoy” a reasonable proportion of their annual leave later this year, once lockdown has hopefully ended.
In these circumstances, i.e., where it is not reasonably practicable for the employee to take some or all of the holiday they are entitled to due to coronavirus, the employee can carry over four weeks of their annual leave entitlement into the next two leave years. Whether the employer will permit the employee to carry forward any additional annual leave would be a matter for contractual agreement.
Please see our General Q & A document on The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for information regarding furlough.
To download full document Coronavirus (Annual Leave) .
The information provided was accurate as at 21 April 2020 when these resources were written by our team of employment solicitors.
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