The Easter bank holiday weekend will, like everything else, be severely impacted by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
With holiday plans cancelled and severe lockdown restrictions in place meaning people cannot leave their home for non-essential reasons, it won’t be the long weekend many had originally anticipated.
While some are lamenting lost holiday plans, others have found themselves worried after being suddenly catapulted into financially precarious circumstances, either by losing business or as a result of being furloughed.
Latest analysis by the Resolution Foundation predicts that more than nine million workers are expected to be furloughed under the government’s job retention scheme.
If you are furloughed, are you still entitled to annual leave, or bank holiday entitlements – and will your pay be impacted?
Here’s what we know.
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Are you still entitled to bank holidays or annual leave if you have been furloughed?
Although the government is yet to clarify, it is understood that if you are furloughed, you are still entitled to bank holidays and annual leave, and taking them will not ‘break’ your furlough.
The government has remained largely silent on this matter, however, the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) offer some non-binding advice.
They write: ‘If an employee or worker is temporarily sent home because there’s no work and the employer intends to claim for their wages under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (‘furloughed’), they can still request and take their holiday in the usual way. This includes bank holidays.’
UK law doesn’t differentiate between annual leave and bank holidays as they are both included within employees’ mandatory 5.6 weeks of leave.
The National Law Review states: ‘Employees and workers may still be required to use a day’s paid holiday for bank holidays, including when they’re furloughed. If bank holidays are given on top of the 5.6 week’s paid holiday, employees and workers should check their contract or talk to their employer about taking this holiday.’
They also write that remuneration should not be affected and that people should not be paid less salary than usual if they take a holiday.
Their advice states: ‘Case law has made clear time and again that an employee’s statutory holiday pay should correspond to normal remuneration based on periods of actual work. It must not be based on or take account of periods of non-working.
‘The application of this principle would mean that an employee taking holiday, including a bank holiday, while on furlough should be paid their ‘normal remuneration’ based on what they’d be paid if they were working as usual on those days.’
If you are in doubt, it is advised to get in touch with your employer.