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Compelling Employees to take Annual Leave on Furlough

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Many employers are now compelling employees to take annual leave while on furlough, mainly to prevent them accruing eight months’ worth of holiday (furlough now being known to last between 1 March and 31 October 2020) being due when they return to work or their employment ends.

The government has published guidance, which supports a view I have previously expressed (but which is not accepted by all lawyers) that employers can compel employees to take holiday during furlough.

The relevant part of the guidance states:- "If an employer requires a worker to take holiday while on furlough, the employer should consider whether any restrictions the worker is under, such as the need to socially distance or self-isolate, would prevent the worker from resting, relaxing and enjoying leisure time, which is the fundamental purpose of holiday."

My views on furlough and annual leave, which I wrote on 4 April (ancient history in Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme terms), can be seen here.