#Annual leave is a real issue for many employers across Ireland right now. Due to Covid-19 restrictions in place from early 2020 the management of annual leave this year has been particularly
difficult. And now, as we face into Christmas, employers face challenges in how to treat employees who have unused entitlements.
Below are some of the options available to employers:
Calculate the build-up of annual leave
Is there a build-up of unused annual leave? With the travel options restricted this year, it’s probable that many employees have not used their entire annual leave allowance.
If you’ve had to place staff on temporary Lay-off, those employees would not have accrued annual leave while on Lay-off. However, an employee may have completed 1,365 hours of work during the leave year, even if they were laid off. If that’s the case, they’re still entitled to four weeks’ paid annual leave.
Use the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997
The Organisation of Working Time Act 1997 entitles all full-time employees to 20 days’ paid annual leave during any given leave year.
Under Section 20 of the Act, employers have the discretion to decide when their employees take their annual leave.
When doing so, it’s necessary to account for your business requirements and to consider:
· The need for the employee to reconcile work and any family responsibilities.
· The opportunities for rest and recreation available to the employee.
If you’re relying on Section 20 to get employees to take their annual leave, consult with them at least one month before they take it.
Balances and carryover
Annual leave carryover can be a tricky area for both employers and employees if your contracts of employment do not set out your business’s position. For example, the contract might specify that your annual leave year runs from January 1 st to December 31 st and nothing else. During your annual leave year unused annual leave can build up. If this has happened, you’ll need to discuss with your employees how they can use their unused leave entitlements.
Your business may operate a policy that prohibits employees from carrying annual leave into the next leave year. If so, you need to ensure your staff receive their full four weeks of paid annual leave before the end of 2020 (or the end of this holiday calendar).
Your business may allow employees to carry unused annual leave into the next year. If you do, you should update your 2021 annual leave balances and make sure the unused leave from 2020 is taken in the first six months of 2021.
If you need any further advice please do not hesitate to contact The HR Lounge on 056 7712471.