Employers – Managing Annual Leave in 2021

January 26, 2021


Due to the COVID-19 impact on the ability to take annual leave in 2020, the Government introduced emergency legislation that allows employees to carry forward up to 4 weeks’ leave for the following two years. This applies where it has not been reasonably practicable to take annual leave during 2020.

As the COVID-19 vaccination roll-out continues and provides a light at the end of the tunnel, many employers may be thinking about how they can manage an increased uptake in annual leave over the next two years.

Employers can require employees to take holiday on specific dates by giving notice which is double the length of the holiday required to be taken. They can also cancel staff’s annual leave if necessary, by giving notice which is the length of the planned holiday; however, they should do so only when absolutely necessary as exercising this power unreasonably could lead to staff unrest or constructive unfair dismissal claims.

Fiona Sinclair outlines some tips on how employers can effectively manage annual leave:

  • Ensure that all members of staff are clear about how much annual leave they have to take and the dates by which the annual leave must be used. This will assist in workforce planning, which will be particularly important this year. 

  • Communicate with staff clearly about the policies on taking annual leave. For example, if working in the hospitality industry, having multiple staff off over Christmas or Bank Holidays would be impractical and if employees plan to take annual leave over that time then they should make their requests early. The same would be applicable over the school holidays, as this tends to be a peak time for annual leave to be taken.

  • It is also important to apply these policies in a consistent and fair way, and be careful not to discriminate against certain groups of staff.

  • Ensure that employees are taking holiday and getting the break they needed. Everyone has experienced lockdown differently so employers should show support and encourage their employees to take leave.



Contact Our Team
Catherine Burke
View Profile
Damian Phillips
View Profile
Fflur Jones
Managing Partner
View Profile
Gareth Wedge
View Profile
Mark Rostron
View Profile
Nick O’Sullivan
View Profile
Owen John
View Profile
Rhodri Lewis
View Profile
Stephen Thompson
View Profile

I have worked with Darwin Gray for a number of years and the level of service, professionalism and timely response is second to none. I would highly recommend Darwin Gray to any business.”

Becs Beslee
Dice FM Ltd

Darwin Gray have provided us with a first-class service for many years now. They really take the time to understand our business and develop relationships which results in advice and support that is contextualised and effective.”

Rebecca Cooper
ACT Training

We have worked with Darwin Gray for several years and have always found their services and advice to be first class.”

Karen Gale
Stepping Stones Group

An extremely professional and sincere company who make time for your queries and understand the need to break down certain facts and information to ensure everything is understood perfectly. I would highly recommend the company to anyone looking for any type of legal advice”

Gwawr Booth
Portal Training Ltd

PSS has worked with Darwin Gray for many years. We have always received an excellent service. Prompt and professional advice and support.”

Ledia Shabani
Property Support Services UK Ltd

We have used several departments within DG recently and we have been very pleased with an effective, efficient and down to earth service. Very happy thus far and I expect that we will continue to use DG.”

Guto Bebb
Farmers’ Union of Wales

Darwin Gray offer us truly superb services. Very professional, quick and services available bilingually which is very important to us, highly recommend.”

Iwan Hywel
Mentrau Iaith Cymru

My “go to” in urgent and time sensitive cases for direction, support and advice. The team are quick to respond to calls or emails for advice and support on all matters. Always explain complex matters in a way a lay person can easily understand.”

Margot Adams
Guarding UK Ltd