You might not be the only one confused with the whole Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (Furlough). Many employers and their employees are definitely experiencing confusion in one way or another. One aspect of the furlough scheme that keeps on popping up is whether those on furlough are still entitled to their annual holidays.
The short answer is yes! You as an employee have a right to build up holiday entitlement while on furlough due to COVID-19. Whilst you are building it up, you can also take this leave whilst on furlough.
How much will you get paid for furlough holidays?
Your employer must pay you holiday pay as normal for anytime you have been furloughed. If the holiday pay is more than what is claimed for furlough, then the employer must pay the difference.
Presently, if you are furloughed, the employer can claim for your wages when you take annual leave. If your annual leave pay is higher than your furloughed pay, then as mentioned, the employer must pay the difference.
The government website shows a quick example of how much holiday pay you should get. The pay is really down to your contracted pay and your entitlement.
Almost all workers are legally entitled to 5.6 weeks’ paid holiday per year, with the exception of those who are self-employed. If your contract is more than the statutory 5.6 weeks’, you can continue to accrue this holiday whilst on furlough.
However, an employer can require you to take your holiday or cancel your holiday, if they give you enough notice.
Taking Leave Whilst on Furlough
Whilst on furlough, your employer can still require you to take leave as well as refuse a request. Your employer should engage with you and explain their reasons for wanting you to take leave. If your employer requires you to take holiday, they should consider the circumstances that you are under, such as self-isolating or socially distancing, could prevent you from actually having a proper rest, the purpose of a holiday, but this does not mean they have to adhere to the circumstances.
New Furlough Holiday Legislation
Following COVID-19, the government passed new legislation which enables you to carry holiday forward. If it is not reasonably practicable for you to take the leave in the year it related to, due to the impact of coronavirus, you can then carry this forward to the following 2 years.
However, if you are on furlough, you wouldn’t to need to carry holiday forward as you can take your annual leave whilst on furlough. But again, you must be paid the right holiday pay that you are entitled to whilst on furlough leave. If your employer is not able to pay your correct annual leave pay, then you have the right to carry your holiday forward.