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Carry-over of unused annual leave

The rules that would have limited the rights of employees in key industries to carry forward any unused annual leave will be delighted by the announcement made two weeks ago. This will mainly apply to workers in key industries such as food and healthcare.

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, under measures introduced by Business Secretary Alok Sharma Friday 27 March.

Currently, almost all workers are entitled to 28 days holiday including bank holidays each year. However, most of this entitlement cannot be carried between leave years, meaning workers lose their holiday if they do not take it.

There is also an obligation on employers to ensure their workers take their statutory entitlement in any one year – failure to do so could result in a financial penalty.

The new regulations will allow up to four weeks of unused leave to be carried into the next two leave years, easing the requirements on business to ensure that workers take statutory amount of annual leave in any one year.

This will mean staff can continue working in the national effort against the coronavirus without losing out on annual leave entitlement.

The changes will also ensure all employers affected by COVID-19 have the flexibility to allow workers to carry over leave at a time when granting annual leave could leave them short-staffed in some of Britain’s key industries.

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