30th April 2020
The information provided by HMRC is vague in relation to employee holidays during a furlough period, but ACAS have now provided clearer information in relation to this which we believe provides better clarity.
The advice can be found here – https://www.acas.org.uk/coronavirus/using-holiday
We advise that you review staff contracts before making any decisions. If you do not have staff contracts, then you should be extra careful when making decisions as you are even more exposed to a legal claim.
Flexibility and fairness forms important parts of the guidance as forcing employees to take holidays whilst furloughed could cause bad feeling and see them look for alternative employment once things return to normal. You may also wish to consider your Company’s image when forcing staff to take holiday whilst furloughed. The bad feeling towards football clubs was immediate when they chose to furlough employees. Consider your customers opinion of having the Government pay 80% of your staff holiday pay and not allowing staff to take that time off over the next two years.
Extra caution is therefore required when reviewing the advice and discussing holidays to be taken during furlough with employees.
During the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) period, which is running to 30th June 2020, there are four Bank Holidays. If you agree with your employees that these will be carried forward, simply allow the employee to take the days in lieu.
If however, you agree that these Bank Holidays will be paid you will need to pay the extra 20% pay due to the employee. Please advise us of this if the extra pay needs adding to the next payroll run. Caution should however be taken here as questions are still being asked to the Government as to whether employees taking holidays during a furlough period stops the furlough claim being valid.
As and when further guidance is released on this, we will update the website.