As your staff return to work, you could be faced with the issue of unused accrued holiday.  Your staff are legally allowed to take their holiday entitlement. This means you could potentially face periods of absence, just a time when you are attempting back on your feet.

Here are some of the options available for managing the holiday process for the rest of the year:

Enforce holiday

You can enforce holiday provided you give notice which is twice the length of the holiday time requested. For example, you could request that all staff take the annual leave accrued this year before the end of the year. This means you won’t face a large carry-over situation. However, employers will need to ensure that holiday taken does not disrupt the running of the business.

Adopt the government carry over scheme

This states that all workers who have not taken all of their statutory annual leave entitlement (due to COVID-19) will now be able to carry it over into the next two leave years. See the government website for more.

Consider a longer shut-down over Christmas / new year

One of our clients is considering shutting for the month of February (traditionally a quieter month for them). This will allow them to catch up with the holiday allocation. Extending the period of closure of the workplace over the festive period will mean starting 2021 with a clean slate in terms of staff leave.

Create your own carry over policy

Taking into consideration the needs of the business and staff morale. It’s important to balance this out and be aware of staff obligations. In another client example, all staff have been asked to ensure they have taken all the holiday accrued up to the end of June before the end of September.

Issues to consider:

  • Enforcing staff holiday can be a delicate conversation to have. Be mindful of those who have been on furlough versus those who have continued to work and demands being made on them.
  • Ensure that whatever policy you adopt applies to the entire business and not on a case by case basis.
  • Be transparent and clear in your requirements so that all staff understand why they need to take the holiday and how it will benefit the business.
  • Work with staff to give them enough notice to take holiday, which will allow them to ensure it fits with their lifestyle / plans.
  • The most important aim is to get to the end of the year without high levels of staff holiday remaining. Start addressing the issue now, it’s not too late!

For more help, contact our team for advice.