COVID-19 pandemic: Updates to holiday carryover rules

The UK government has announced new changes to holiday carryover rules in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Read on to find out what this means for Irish employers.

BrightHR Team

On Friday 27th March 2020 the UK government announced plans to relax holiday carryover laws for workers, in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Workers can now carry over up to four weeks unused annual leave for the next two years.  

The UK’s announcement

The UK government want to make sure that workers who don’t take all of their statutory annual leave entitlement because of COVID-19 aren’t punished.

That’s why it’s amending the Working Time Regulations to let workers carry over up to four weeks unused holiday over two years if they can’t take annual leave due to the coronavirus.

This applies to almost all workers including agency workers, hourly-paid workers and those on zero-hour contracts.

How does this new update differ to current UK legislation?

Under current UK laws, most workers are entitled to 5.6 weeks’ annual leave (including bank holidays) each year. But the majority of this leave has to be taken in one holiday year, and if workers don’t use their leave, they lose it.

There’s also an obligation on employers to make sure that staff take their statutory entitlement in one year—if they don’t, they could face a financial penalty. These rules are now being relaxed for UK workers.

What do these changes mean for Irish employers like me?

At the moment they don’t have any impact on Irish businesses, only UK ones.

But with COVID-19 spreading faster in the UK than Ireland, this change in legislation could be a sign of things to come. So it’s worth preparing your business now for similar holiday carryover updates.

With that in mind, what’s the best way to manage holiday carryover?

You probably don’t have a lot of time on your hands to calculate staff holiday entitlements or update carryover spreadsheets—so let BrightHR do it all for you.

With our smart people management software, holiday carryover is a doddle. You simply enter how many days a worker wants to carry over and BrightHR automatically adds them to your chosen year’s entitlement. It’s that simple.

Get your free demo today to see how easy BrightHR makes managing holiday carryover.