Managing holidays – 2021 style!

Jun 14, 2021 | Coronavirus News

We have been looking at managing holidays this week but this year we have unique issues to consider with respect to Covid 19. Whilst the number of workers still on furlough is reducing it may still be worth discussing holiday for furloughed workers. All holiday entitlements continue to accrue whilst a worker is on furlough and an employer can request that an employee takes holiday even while on furlough though it is prudent to consider if the employee is able to “enjoy” the holiday i.e. they are not required to self-isolate at that time. Unfortunately, though an employer has no control over travel restrictions or the need to social distance.

The government did introduce a law in 2020 that will allow employees to carry over up to 4 weeks’ statutory paid holiday into their next 2 holiday leave years.

This law applies for any holiday the employee or worker does not take because of COVID-19.

Reasons for this could include:

• they’re self-isolating or too sick to take holiday before the end of their leave year

• they’ve had to continue working and could not take paid holiday

They may also be able to carry over holiday if they’ve been on furlough and cannot reasonably use all their holiday in their holiday year.

But let’s say someone has to travel due to work or an emergency or book a holiday and then has to self-isolate on their return. What happens then?

As we saw last week things change very quickly, Portugal was on the green list meaning no self-isolation required on return to the UK so many people booked their holiday because of that. The situation changed and Portugal was put on the amber list meaning a period of 10 days self-isolation is required when travellers land in the UK.

From a work point of view this could have an impact, no one is allowed to leave home not even to go to work. Some employees will be able to work from home temporarily or continue their current arrangement which is great no issue there. Others will be unable to work from home so options there are to use up more AL, unpaid leave or maybe your company has another form of paid leave that could be used.

Employees and workers are not entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if they’re self-isolating after travel abroad and cannot work from home. But an employer can choose to pay them sick pay – at the same rate as SSP or a higher rate – if they want to.

As an employer it is good practice to consider the reason for travel, employees might be travelling abroad due to a family emergency rather than holiday so if self-isolation is required on their return an empathetic approach is advised and hopefully the employee could use special leave if it exists or unpaid leave to cover that 10 day period.

Definitely a lot more to consider this year so if you need any advise please call us on 01487 815720

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