Coronavirus Update: Amendment to the Working Time Regulations

Dylan Loughlin

The Working Time Regulations (1998) is the legislation which allows for the right to annual leave and rest periods between shifts. The Government has introduced an amendment to this legislation – The Working Time (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020.

What is the amendment? In regulation 13- a) at the beginning of paragraph (9)(a) insert “subject to exception in paragraphs (10) and (11) b) after paragraph (9) insert- “(10) Where in any leave year it was not reasonably practicable for a worker to take some or all of the leave to which the worker was entitled under this regulation as a result of the effects of Coronavirus (including on the worker, the employer or the wider economy or society), the worker shall be entitled to carry forward such unused leave as provided for in paragraph (11). (11) Leave to which paragraph (10) applies may be carried forward and taken in the two leave years immediately following the leave year in respect of which it was due. (12) An employer may only require a worker not to take leave to which paragraph (10) applies on particular days as provided for in regulation 15(2) where the employer has good reason to do so. (13) For the purpose of this regulation “coronavirus” means severe acute respiratory syndrome corona-virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).”

What does this mean in lay mans terms? It simply means, that if an employee cannot take annual leave due to the impacts of the Coronavirus Pandemic, they are entitled to use their annual leave up to a period of 2 years from when the “holiday year” ends.  Example: A business’ holiday year runs from April to March. An employee has one week left of annual leave but they are unable to take it as they are self-isolating, therefore, they could carry this over and would have until March 2022 to take the annual leave.  Stay up to date with all changes to Employment Law legislation throughout the duration of the Coronavirus Crisis by signing up to our newsletter.