From 1 January 2024, workers can no longer carry over leave not taken due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Employees should use all leave accrued prior to 1 January 2024 on or before 31 March 2024.
The Working Time (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 were introduced in March 2020 as emergency temporary legislation. This was to prevent workers from losing annual leave entitlement if they were unable to take it due to the effects of COVID-19. The amended Working Time Regulations allowed workers to carry over four weeks of regulation leave into the following two leave years, if it was not reasonably practicable for a worker to take this leave in the year to which it related.
Following the consultation on retained EU employment law reforms, the government has now removed these regulations with effect from 1 January 2024.
What does this mean for employers
This will mean that from 1 January 2024 workers can no longer carry over leave not taken due to COVID-19. However, workers may still have leave to use, so will be able to use all leave accrued prior to 1 January 2024 on or before 31 March 2024.
Workers will still be able to carry over 1.6 weeks of leave into the next leave year in relation to regulation 13A. There will also be a provision for those workers whose employment terminates on or before the 31 March 2024 so that they can claim any pay in lieu for any remaining entitlement that they were unable to use due to the effect of COVID-19.
Where employees cannot use their full entitlement of annual leave because of service pressures, we would encourage employers to consider revising their local policies to exercise maximum flexibilities in relation to carrying over of leave to the next leave year.
For further information, see the GOV.UK website.