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Can I require employees to take holiday during furlough?

Yes. Government guidance now confirms that employers can be required to take holiday during a period of furlough, so long as they are given minimum notice to do so. The notice required is double the length of the holiday.

Employers are also able to cancel employees’ holidays (or require them not to take holiday) if they are on furlough, for example if they are not in a position to pay the additional 20% top up to their normal wages (or more where they earn in excess of the £2,500 monthly cap on furlough payments). Again, employers are required to provide a minimum period of notice of cancellation, which in this case, is the length of the planned holiday.

Employers can ask employees to take or cancel holiday with less notice but they would need to get their agreement to do so.

Government guidance has been updated to state that “Employees should not be placed on furlough for a period simply because they are on holiday for that period.” If a period of furlough happens to coincide with an employee’s holiday then you should ensure that there are business grounds to support furlough being used in that instance so that it isn’t just being used as a means to fund holiday utilisation.