COVID-19: Request staff to take holidays while on furlough

legal updates

The rules against carrying over unused leave have been relaxed by The Working Time (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020.

Read our disclaimer keyboard_arrow_down

This website content is intended as a general guide to law as it applies to the motor trade. Lawgistics has taken every effort to ensure that the contents are as accurate and up to date as at the date of first publication.

The laws and opinions expressed within this website may be varied as the law develops. As such we cannot accept liability for or the consequence of, any change of law, or official guidelines since publication or any misuse of the information provided.

The opinions in this website are based upon the experience of the authors and it must be recognised that only the courts and recognised tribunals can interpret the law with authority.

Examples given within the website are based on the experience of the authors and centre upon issues that commonly give rise to disputes. Each situation in practice will be different and may comprise several points commented upon.

If you have any doubt about the correct legal position you should seek further legal advice from Lawgistics or a suitably qualified solicitor. We cannot accept liability for your failure to take professional advice where it should reasonably be sought by a prudent person.

All characters are fictitious and should not be taken as referring to any person living or dead.

Use of this website shall be considered acceptance of the terms of the disclaimer presented above.

It is an established position, as we previously explained, that the annual leave entitlement continues to accrue on furlough. This may put business in a difficult position once the furlough ends and the employees rush to use up their accumulated entitlement. 

This also means that if there is not enough work and an employee is made redundant at the end of furlough, the business will have to include into the redundancy package a payment for the unused leave.

The rules against carrying over unused leave have been relaxed by The Working Time (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020. In relation to the statutory entitlement to 4 weeks for full-time staff (out of the 5.6 weeks’ total statutory minimum), a worker may carry over accrued leave if it was not reasonably practical for this worker to take some or all of the leave in any leave as a result of the effects of coronavirus (including on the worker, the employer or the wider economy or society). The carried over leave must be taken within next two lave years. With good reason, the employer may refuse the worker to take the carried over leave on requested days.

It is possible to request employees to take holidays during furlough, as is reflected in the publicised guidance, provided the employer considers ‘whether any restrictions the worker is under, such as the need to socially distance or self-isolate, would prevent the worker from resting, relaxing and enjoying leisure time’.

The 80% (up to £2,500 cap) of holiday pay can be claimed through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme but the employer will have to pay the usual holiday pay and top up the furlough money.

If the employer requests staff to take holidays, a minimum notice of twice the length of the requested holidays must be served. For example, the employer has to serve a notice of minimum of 10 days requiring the worker to take 5 days of leave.

In respect of the bank holidays falling within a period of furlough, which normally would be taken as time off, there are two options: defer the holiday until the end of furlough or treat the holiday as annual leave and top up the furlough pay accordingly. Bank holidays do not interrupt furlough.

Below is a suggested template an employer can use to request staff to take holidays while on furlough:


RE: Notice to Take Annual Leave

We write to confirm your entitlement to annual leave continues to accrue in the furlough period.

To abate the impact of the coronavirus on the business of the company, you are required to take the period from [DATE] to [DATE], [NUMBER weeks/days] in total, as part of your annual leave. This period of leave will be deducted from your remaining annual leave entitlement for the current holiday year.

You will remain away from work and your furlough will continue uninterrupted on the stated leave days. 

The company considers that the current furlough period does not reasonably prevent you from utilising the requested leave to take rest from your work. 

For the stated days of leave, the reduced furlough rate will not apply, instead you will receive your normal holiday pay in the normal pay cycle.

If you wish to discuss any aspect of this letter, please contact me on [CONTACT DETAILS].

Cable For My CarWe offer free next day delivery* on all EV charging cables when shipped within mainland UK

Stocking only premium EV charging cables, we ensure you experience a stress-free EV charge, over and over, confidently backed by our 2 year warranty. Our premium & reliable charging cables are compliant with EU & UK safety standards. We offer free next day delivery* on all EV charging cables when shipped within mainland UK.

Kiril MoskovchukTrainee SolicitorRead More by this author

Related Legal Updates

Extension of Redundancy Protection for Pregnancy and New Parents

Explore the strengthened redundancy protections for new parents with significant amendments to maternity, adoption, and shared parental leave rights, effective from April 2024, ensuring enhanced job security during critical family milestones.

Wages increasing from 1 April 2024

With effect from 1 April 2024, the hourly rates of pay are…

Employment Law: Carer’s Leave

The regulations explicitly safeguard employees from any detriment or dismissal resulting from taking or seeking to take carer’s leave.

Employment Law: Annual Leave Changes

Several significant changes came into force on 1 January 2024 that affect the statutory annual leave and pay entitlements.

The office Christmas party season is here

Where an employee makes comments concerning a person’s body parts or style of dress that are intended to be good-natured but are perceived as offensive…

Update on Rights to Flexible Working Requests

Employers will remain entitled to turn down a request pointing to reasonable grounds as a basis for refusal.

Three new employment laws for 2024

The Carers Leave Act, The Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act and The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act.

Get in touch

Complete the form to get in touch or via our details below:

01480 455500

Vinpenta House
High Causeway

By submitting this quote you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy & Cookies Policy.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.