In terms of carrying over holiday from one leave year to the next, the government has already announced that workers who have not taken their statutory four weeks’ annual leave entitlement due to the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) can now carry it over into the next two leave years (LELR 665).

The circumstances in which this is allowed appear to be fairly wide. The ACAS guide suggests that it might not be reasonably practicable for a worker to take leave if they are self-isolating or are too ill, have been temporarily sent home due to a lack of work and/or they have had to continue working. Those in the last category would include NHS workers and delivery drivers who are working around the clock.

One of the slight complications is that the relaxation of the ban only applies to the four weeks’ leave afforded under the European directive. However, in the UK most workers are entitled to a further 1.6 weeks of leave under domestic legislation and many are entitled to additional contractual leave. 

If the employer refused to allow the leave to be carried over contrary to the new entitlement, workers can bring a claim in an employment tribunal asking for a declaration to confirm their leave rights and for compensation which is just and equitable.  

In order to make a claim, however, workers must ensure that they lodge it within three months (less one day) of the day that the right should have been permitted.

Articles shared by Thompsons relating to coronavirus (COVID-19) are correct at the time of publication. You should check the government's guidelines for the latest information and advice at