By Andrew Webster.
On Friday (17 April 2020) the Government published further guidance on its Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme in which it finally sought to address the interplay between annual leave and furlough (a mere 4 weeks and 5 versions of the guidance later…)
The key points to note are as follows:
o Agreeing a different rate of pay for contractual holiday pay.
o Agreeing reductions in hours and/or pay with a concomitant impact on annual leave entitlement (particularly if some employees remain at work on reduced hours/pay with obvious industrial relations implications).
The Government has yet to indicate in its guidance whether employers are entitled to require furloughed employees to take annual leave (per the Regulation 15 WTR 1998 right). My view is that they are likely to be able to do so, though given the need to top up the grant to 100% of normal pay, it seems improbable that many will wish to avail themselves of this right. The Government concludes its guidance on annual leave by saying that its policy on holiday pay during furlough is being kept under review so employers that are contemplating requiring furloughed employees to take leave may wish to delay their decision until the next instalment.
Finally, it should also be noted that ACAS has published updated guidance (reviewed today) on this subject.
To read the article in full as a pdf please click here.
 https://www.gov.uk/guidance/work-out-80-of-your-employees-wages-to-claim-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme and https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-you-could-be-covered-by-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme (it has yet to make it into the guidance for employers)
 Appropriate advice should be taken before considering implementing either of these options.
 See the discussion about this topic in Bryony Clayton’s article on The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: https://www.parklaneplowden.co.uk/news/covid-19-employment-law-series-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme