Holiday Pay During Furlough

Coronavirus-legal-insights-annual-leave-and-furloughAlmost all workers, including zero-hour contracted workers and those on irregular hours contracts, are legally entitled to 5.6 weeks’ paid holiday per year. The exception is those who are genuinely self-employed.

Furloughed employees continue to accrue leave as per their employment contract.

You can only place employees on furlough if coronavirus (COVID-19) is affecting your operations.

You should not place employees on furlough just because:

  • they are going to be on paid leave
  • you usually do less business over the festive period

The employer and employee can agree to vary holiday entitlement as part of the furlough agreement, however almost all workers are entitled to 5.6 weeks of statutory paid annual leave each year which they cannot go below.

Employees can take holiday whilst on furlough. If they are flexibly furloughed then any hours taken as holiday during the claim period should be counted as furloughed hours rather than working hours.

Working Time Regulations (WTR) require holiday pay to be paid at the employee’s normal rate of pay or, where the rate of pay varies, calculated on the basis of the average pay received by the employee in the last 52 working weeks (twelve weeks in Northern Ireland). Therefore, if a furloughed employee takes holiday, the employer should pay their usual holiday pay in accordance with the Working Time Regulations.

Employers will be obliged to pay employees who are on holiday additional amounts over the grant, though will have the flexibility to restrict when leave can be taken if there is a business need and the correct notice is given. This applies for both the furlough period and the recovery period.

If an employee usually works bank holidays then the employer can agree that this is included in the grant payment. If the employee usually takes the bank holiday as leave then the employer would either have to top up their usual holiday pay, or give the employee a day of holiday in lieu.

More details can be found here

Time Off for Family and Dependants

Related imageYour rights – As an employee you’re allowed time off to deal with an emergency involving a dependant.  A dependant could be a spouse, partner, child, grandchild, parent, or someone who depends on you for care.

How much you get – You’re allowed a reasonable amount of time off to deal with the emergency, but there’s no set amount of time as it depends on the situation.  ExampleIf your child falls ill you could take time off to go to the doctor and make care arrangements.  Your employer may then ask you to take annual leave or parental leave if you want to look after your child for longer.  Tell your employer as soon as possible how much time you’ll need so it can be agreed.

Limits on time off – There are no limits on how many times you can take time off for dependants.  Your employer may want to talk to you if they think time off is affecting your work.

Pay – Your employer may pay you for time off to look after dependants but they don’t have to.  Check your contract, company handbook or intranet site to see if there are rules about this.

Exceptions – You can’t have time off if you knew about a situation beforehand.  For example you wouldn’t be covered if you wanted to take your child to hospital for an appointment. You might get parental leave instead.  Check your employment status to see if you’re classed as an ‘employee’.

Compassionate leave – If you aren’t given time off for dependants, your employer may allow you ‘compassionate leave’ – this can be paid or unpaid leave for emergency situations.  Check your employment contract, company handbook or intranet for details about compassionate leave.

You can find more details here