The Business Secretary, Alok Sharma, has introduced new measures to allow workers to carry over their statutory annual leave entitlement into the next two leave years, where it has gone unused because of the Covid-19 outbreak.
While the majority of workers are entitled to 28 days statutory annual leave, this cannot be carried over between leave years, and employers have an obligation to encourage workers use their full allowance.
The change in regulations means that up to four weeks of unused leave can be carried over, allowing staff in key sectors to continue working without losing out on their annual leave entitlement. The extra flexibility aims to prevent businesses becoming short-staffed because of granting annual leave requests to ensure staff do not miss out.
The changes will amend the Working Time Regulations, applying to the majority of workers, including agency staff, zero-hours or casual workers.
Business Secretary Alok Sharma said:
Whether it is in our hospitals, or our supermarkets, people are working around the clock to help our country deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
“Today’s changes will mean these valued employees do not lose out on the annual leave they are entitled to as a result of their efforts, and employers are not penalised.”
Environment Secretary George Eustice said:
From our fields to our supermarkets, we are hugely grateful to the many people working around the clock to keep the nation fed.
“At this crucial time, relaxing laws on statutory leave will help ensure key workers can continue the important work to keep supplies flowing, but without losing the crucial time off they are entitled to.
“We welcome the measures the food industry is already taking to keep shelves stocked and supply chains resilient, and will continue to support them with their response to coronavirus.”
The change is aimed at allowing businesses under particular pressure from the impacts of COVID-19 the flexibility to better manage their workforce, while protecting workers’ right to paid holiday.