unused annual leave

Can I carry my unused annual leave over?

Here we are, it’s nearly Christmas already. Most people will have used their annual leave up ages ago. Many will be limping towards the Christmas break. But what can you do if you haven’t used all your holidays up? If you are asking can i carry my unused annual leave over to 2020, read on…

Statutory annual leave

The starting point when asking this question is what is the minimum amount of annual leave you should receive? The Working Time Directive 1998 sets out the minimum everyone should receive. In the UK this was a staged increase and has been at 5.6 weeks (28 days) for over a decade now. This figure includes bank holidays and is the minimum contractual entitlement. So, if you haven’t taken your 28 days, what can you do?

Use it or lose it

The starting position is that all employees should use their 28 days. If they don’t use it, any unused annual leave is forfeited. However, there are 2 exceptions to this rule.

Statutory leave

The main exceptions to the general rule of forfeiting holidays is where an employee is on statutory leave such as Maternity or Sickness. Here the employee continues to accrue holidays whilst they are off and can carry any unused annual leave over to the next year. This includes bank holiday entitlement. So employees could end up with 56 days unused annual leave days to use in the following leave year.

Enhanced Company annual leave

Where a Company decides to enhance the annual leave entitlement above the statutory minimum, then the decision rests with the Company as to what you can do with unused annual leave above the 28 days. So for instance, if a Company gives 25 days + 8 bank holidays to their staff, they can choose whether to allow employees to carry over 5 days to the next year. It’s an operational decision which often depends on why the employee has unused annual leave days. If they couldn’t take the time due to work requirements, for example, they are often allowed to carry the leave over to a quieter point in time.

So the long and short of it is the answer is usually no for the statutory element but yes if it’s the enhanced portion of their annual leave.

Who are Cornerstone Resources?

Based in South Manchester and serving customers across the UK, Cornerstone Resources are experienced HR professionals who provide pragmatic, commercial advice. For help with your policies or for other one off HR projects, call Rob on 07494 161169 or Nicci on 07908 875146. Alternatively, click here for our full range of HR services.

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