Managing annual leave during lockdown

Managing annual leave during lockdown - key questions answered

How can you effectively manage annual leave during lockdown? We recently spoke to Tracey Hudson, Executive Director of HR Dept South Warwickshire, Rugby & North Derbyshire, who went over some of the pressing issues arising over managing employees’ annual leave requests during lockdown.

You can watch our webinar with Tracey here, or read on for a quick overview of some of the key questions on managing annual leave during lockdown.

1. Can I force an employee to take annual leave?

Yes. Whether an employee is furloughed, working from home, or still in the workplace, employers can make taking annual leave mandatory. It should be noted though that if an employer is planning to enforce annual leave, they must give sufficient notice to employees.

The notice required is double the amount of annual leave that you are requesting they take. So if you want an employee to take 3 days of their annual leave, you must notify them of this at least 6 days before you want them to have booked this annual leave by.

2. Can I cancel an employee’s booked annual leave?

Yes. Employers are allowed to cancel any annual leave that has already been booked by an employee (as well as any annual leave that might be booked for the future should this become an issue).

3. Can an employee take annual leave whilst they are furloughed?

Yes. Employees can take annual leave whilst on furlough and employers can request or enforce that they take annual leave whilst on furlough. If an employee takes annual leave whilst they are on furlough, employers can claim back 80% of this.

4. Can I use accrued holiday to top up an employee’s furlough pay?

Yes. So long as the holiday accrued is full days of holiday, employers can decide to pay this on top of furlough pay.

Holiday management tools such as myhrtoolkit’s holiday planner can simplify this by allowing you to see how much annual leave an employee has accrued

Staff holiday planner feature

5. Can I enforce annual leave on those who are furloughed?

Employers have to be careful when deciding to enforce annual leave on some employees and not others since this could, in some situations, lead to charges of discrimination. If all those furloughed employees are women, for instance, a claim could be made that the employer was unfairly discriminating by forcing only female employees to take annual leave.

If an employer is sure that they are not acting in a discriminating manner, then there is no issue enforcing annual leave on some employees and not on others (for example enforcing it on those who are furloughed and not on those who are not because the business requires the capacity of those still working).

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Written by Kate Taylor

Kate is a Content Marketing Executive for myhrtoolkit. She is interested in SaaS platforms, automation tools for making HR easier, and strategies for keeping employees engaged.

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