It’s the first day of the Spring/Easter Holidays and most of us will probably be feeling a little underwhelmed at the prospect (we get to spend another two weeks at home).
We should, however, be grateful when we remember the countless numbers of our fellow workers who have to go into work in order to keep this country running – National Health Service and Emergency Service personnel, care staff, supermarket and grocery staff, delivery workers, the armed forces, utilities workers etc during the Coronavirus outbreak. I am sure that I will have overlooked someone or a group of essential workers and for that sincere apologies.
With all of the above people in mind, when do they get to take holidays? I am sure that, for many of them, holidays have been put firmly on the back burner.
This is why the UK Government has sensibly amended the Working Time Regulations 1998 by introducing the Working Time (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 (WTCA Regulations). This will allow workers, who are continuing to serve the community in its hour of need, to carry over their holiday entitlement to the following year.
Ordinarily, the Working Time Regulations 1998 permits ‘workers’ (a category broader than employees) to take 28 days’ (or 5.6 weeks’) paid holiday per year. This is the basic, statutory entitlement and other workers may be more fortunate in that they receive longer periods of paid holiday entitlement e.g. teachers and lecturers.
Each organisation will designate the relevant period when holidays are to be taken by workers. The minimum or basic entitlement can include public or bank holidays such as Good Friday, Easter Monday, May Day, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day. This period of leave should be addressed in workers’ contracts.
The basic entitlement must normally be taken in the agreed leave year e.g. from 1 January to 31 December or 1st September to 31st August. I say normally because workers are not usually permitted to carry over holidays into the next leave year – they must take them in the current leave year. I suppose you could say rather crudely: use them or lose them, but thankfully not this year. This is the least we can do for people who are putting their health and, quite possibly, their lives on the line for us.
A link to an article in The Independent about the amendment to the Working Time Regulations can be found below:
Copyright Seán J Crossan, 4 April 2020