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STOP PRESS! COVID-19 – New Rules for Carrying Over Annual Leave to be Relaxed to Support Key Industries

The government has today (27 March) announced, through measures being introduced by the Business Secretary Alok Sharma,  that workers will be allowed to carry forward up to 4 weeks’ paid annual leave into the next 2 leave years. The change is designed to allow businesses under pressure from the effects of COVID-19 to have more flexibility in relation to their workforces at a time when it is needed most, but to ensure that workers’ rights are fully protected in relation to receiving paid holiday.


It is understood that new Regulations are to be published which will amend Regulation 13 of the Working Time Regulations, which will allows this. Carry forward will be allowed where is it not reasonably practicable for a worker to take some or all of their holiday entitlement due to the coronavirus. As the change will amend the Working Time Regulations, which apply to almost all workers, this will include agency workers, and workers on zero hours contracts.


It should be noted that Regulation 13 only deals with the 4 weeks’ annual leave prescribed by the Working Time Directive (which is why this change only applies to this leave) and therefore the additional 1.6 weeks’ of paid leave under the Working Time Regulations will not be affected by this amendment. The position is that the additional 1.6 weeks’ paid leave can be carried forward for up to 1 year by agreement between the employer (which could be the agency) and the worker.

This bulletin is for general guidance only and should not be used for any other purpose. It does not constitute, and should not be relied upon as legal advice.

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