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Holiday carry over rules relaxed

Following the coronavirus outbreak, the government has passed emergency legislation which relaxes the restrictions on the carry-over of untaken holiday.

The Working Time Directive (WTD) grants all workers the right to four weeks’ paid holiday. The WTD is enshrined into our domestic legislation by the Working Time Regulations (WTR) which grant UK workers an additional 1.6 weeks’ paid holiday. Where a worker is unable to take their full WTD/WTR leave entitlement in the employer’s current holiday year, there’s no single rule regarding carry-over into the next holiday year. It will depend on the circumstances.

As the coronavirus pandemic is likely to prevent many workers from taking holiday entitlement, the government has brought the Working Time (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 into force with immediate effect. They permit the carry-over of any untaken WTD leave, i.e. the four weeks’ statutory paid holiday, for two years where it was not reasonably practicable for the worker to take it in their current leave year.

This carry-over right only applies where the worker’s WTD holiday could not be taken “as a result of the effects of the coronavirus (including on the worker, the employer or the wider economy or society)” If the worker could not take their holiday for other any reason, the normal rules, covered in our previous article, will apply.

Workers have no rights to carry over the additional 1.6 weeks’ holiday granted under the WTR. So you’ll need to differentiate between WTD and WTR rights when determining what, if any, carry-over rights are permitted. Additional contractual holiday leave rights aren’t covered by the new regulations. These will be governed by the terms of the contract and/or your holiday policy.

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