Can employers make employees use annual leave during periods of furlough?Posted in : First Tuesday Q&A NI on 2 February 2021
Yes, employers can require employees to use annual leave during periods of furlough. However, employees need to be given twice as much notice as the length of the holiday they are required to take (e.g. ten days’ notice for five days’ holiday) unless the employment contract says otherwise.
The government guidance states that any hours taken as holiday during a flexible furlough claim period should be counted as furloughed hours rather than working hours. This means that an employee who is due to work part-time during a particular claim period under the flexible furlough scheme will be treated as being on furlough for all holiday taken during that period, regardless if some or all of the days of holiday fall on days when they were otherwise due to work.
Employers should also be mindful of the purpose of annual leave, namely for rest, relaxation and leisure. Therefore, if an employee is self-isolating employers will need to consider whether the employee’s ability to enjoy a period of rest and relaxation is affected.
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