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Who decides on carrying-over holiday entitlement?

The Regulations do not require any prior agreement between an employer and employee that it was not reasonably practicable for holiday to be taken for it to be carried over.

However, if an employee requests holiday then an employer must have ‘good reason’ for refusing it due to coronavirus. The term ‘good reason’ is not defined so the Government will expect employers, employees and (if necessary on any dispute) the Courts to apply common sense.

The Regulations are not confined to key workers so could, in principle, be used by employers for a wider range of employees.

The Government guidance suggests that the following factors should be taken into account when considering whether it was reasonably practicable to take the leave in the relevant year:

  • Whether the business has faced a significant increase in demand due to COVID-19 that would reasonably require the worker to continue to be at work and cannot be met through alternative practical measures.
  • The extent to which the business’ workforce is disrupted by COVID-19 and the practical options available to the business to provide temporary cover of essential activities.
  • The health of the worker and how soon they need to take a period of rest and relaxation.
  • The length of time remaining in the worker’s leave year.
  • The extent to which the worker taking leave would impact on wider society’s response to, and recovery from, the effects of COVID-19.
  • The ability of the remainder of the available workforce to provide cover for the worker going on leave.