Holiday Pay & Annual Leave On Furlough: All Your Questions Answered.

In the wake of the extended Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, many employees are now on furlough – whether full time or flexibly. With Christmas fast approaching, this leaves a lot of questions for those employees around their annual leave rights and any holiday pay entitlements.

Here are answers to some of your most frequently asked questions around holiday pay and furlough.

Are furloughed workers still entitled to holidays and annual leave?

Yes, furloughed employees are still entitled to the statutory holiday entitlement of 5.6 weeks of paid leave per year (or more if stated in their employment contract). I.e. even if you have been on furlough for 3 months, you are still entitled to your full year’s worth of leave.

Can employees use their leave during the furlough period?

Yes, employees can continue to use their annual leave and holiday entitlement while on furlough providing they continue to follow the standard rules and procedures when requesting time off.

How much holiday pay are employees entitled to while on furlough?

If an employee uses their holiday allowance during the furlough period, they are entitled to the full amount of holiday pay they would receive if not on furlough. This means that employees who are receiving 80% of their regular wages through the furlough scheme would be entitled to the remaining 20% during the holiday period. The employer is responsible for the additional 20% payment.

Can employers continue to claim furlough support if the employee uses their holiday entitlement?

Yes, employers can continue to claim support from the government for the furloughed employee while they are on holiday however the support will not exceed 80% of their regular wages.

Can my employer force me to take holiday (whilst on furlough or not)?

Yes, provided the employer gives twice the notice of the holiday itself. E.g. If an employer wishes for an employee to take 5 days off on holiday they must give the employee 10 days’ notice before the holiday starts.

Can furloughed employees carry leave over to next year?

While it is expected that most furloughed employees would have been able to use their leave entitlement during the furlough period, if has not been “reasonably practical” for them to do so before the end of the leave year the employer must enable them to carry their leave over to be used by the end of the next 2 leave years. It can be considered not “reasonably practical” if

  • The employer has not been financially able to pay the full holiday pay entitlement
  • There is not enough time left in the leave year for holiday to be taken

If an employee was only placed on furlough from the 1st November, it could also be considered not “reasonably practical” if during the time they were not on furlough:

  • the business has faced a significant increase in demand due to coronavirus that would reasonably require the worker to continue to be at work and cannot be met through alternative practical measures

It can be hard to keep up with the latest government announcements and measures so if you have any questions about how to get your business through the next few months, please feel free to reach out to us at Bradley HR!