BEIS relax rules to respond to COVID-19 impact on taking annual leave

27 March 2020

In the Press Release published by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy The Working Time (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 amends the Working Time Regulations 1998 to create a further exemption in response to COVID-19.

The amendment will result in an employee who has been prevented, by reason of coronavirus, from taking some, or all, of the holiday to which they are entitled then they will be granted a right to carry the four weeks, provided for under Regulation 13, into the next two leave years.

This will not apply to the 1.6 weeks under Regulation 13A leave, but this can already be carried forward one year by agreement between workers and employers.

The aim of this is to lift pressure on the employers of key workers across a range of sectors.

Business Secretary Alok Sharma said:
“Whether it is in our hospitals or our supermarkets, people are working around the clock to help our country deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

Today’s changes will mean these valued employees do not lose out on the annual leave they are entitled to as a result of their efforts, and employers are not penalised.”

Environment secretary George Eustice said:
“From our fields to our supermarkets, we are hugely grateful to the many people working “around the clock to keep the nation fed.

At this crucial time, relaxing laws on statutory leave will help ensure key workers can continue the important work to keep supplies flowing, but without losing the crucial time off they are entitled to.

We welcome the measures the food industry is already taking to keep shelves stocked and supply chains resilient and will continue to support them with their response to coronavirus.”