When Should I Allow a Worker to Carry Forward Annual Leave?

In terms of carrying forward holiday leave this can be broken down into three categories should, should not and may:

When you should not carry holiday forward

  • The minimum 4 weeks of WTD Leave should not be carried forward into the next holiday year. Employers should not replace this with a payment in lieu except on termination of employment
  • Remember where a worker did not have an effective opportunity to take their minimum 4 week’s WTD Leave this requires the employer to show, that it provided sufficient information to the worker about their holiday entitlement, and the potential loss of untaken entitlement at the end of the leave year.

When you should carry holiday forward

These circumstances generally occur when an employee in exceptional circumstances has no means of taking their statutory annual leave, these can be;

  • If a long term sickness absence extends into the next holiday year then the employee should carry forward up to 4 weeks’ paid WTD Leave into the next holiday year (note not the full 5.6 weeks statutory annual leave or additional contractual holiday entitlement). It must be used within 18 months of the date it was carried over from.
  • If a worker is unable to take their annual leave due to taking other statutory leave e.g.; maternity, paternity, adoption leave and shared parental leave, the employer should carry forward their statutory annual leave

When you may carry holiday forward

  • The contract may provide for the remaining 1.6 weeks’ of additional leave to be carried over but should not to be replaced by a payment in lieu except on termination.
  • Contractual annual leave in addition to the 5.6 week’ statutory annual leave is not required to be carried forward but may be at the discretion of the employer.
  • If a worker is unable to take their annual leave due to taking other statutory leave e.g.; maternity, paternity, adoption leave and shared parental leave, the employer may carry forward their contractual entitlement over and above their statutory annual leave into the next holiday year There are currently no case law rulings on this point and many employers who offer contractual holiday in excess of statutory annual leave allow women to carry the unused balance of their full contractual entitlement as a matter of practice. However, this is not strictly required on the current state of the case law.
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