During periods of ‘furlough leave’ in the context of the Coronavirus pandemic, workers will continue to accrue their holiday. Workers can take holiday during the furlough period in the normal way, subject to the employer’s agreement, and this will not break the furlough period. If an employee takes holiday during this time, they should be paid at their full normal rate of pay for such period.
If an employee has booked annual leave, then it is possible that they will want to cancel this and reschedule for another date. Although the regulations referred to below allow for such carryover, employers do not have to agree to such requests to postpone leave.
It is currently uncertain whether employers can require employees to take holiday whilst they are on furlough leave, as they would be able to do (subject to the applicable notice requirement) in normal circumstances.
New regulations relating to the Coronavirus pandemic provide that if a worker is unable to take leave due to Covid-19 they will be permitted to carry leave into the next two holiday years. This amendment to the Working Time Regulations aims to ensure that key industries are not short-staffed in the fight against coronavirus and apply to almost all workers including agency workers and those who work irregular hours or on zero-hour contracts.
You can take a look at our full fact sheet on holiday pay in our resources page, along with a number of other topics.