Skip to the content

Normally workers can only carry over the four weeks' minimum holiday prescribed by European Union legislation if they have been sick or on family leave.  This March, the Working Time Regulations 1998 were amended to allow workers to carry over these four weeks of leave where it is not 'reasonably practicable' to take the leave as a result of the effects of Covid-19.  

Any carry-over lasts for the two years immediately following the year when the leave was due to be taken. The government has issued guidance on factors to consider when deciding what is or is not reasonably practicable and cover the effects on the worker, the employer, the wider economy or society. The guidance includes specific examples.

If you're approaching the end of your company's leave year, what should you do now?

Your rules

Check the law, your contract and holiday policy so you understand how many days holiday you normally permit workers to carry-over.  Assess whether the new provisions change the position for any of your workers.


Allow all workers to take any leave that they will not be entitled to carry forward before the end of the current leave year.


Decide whether it is appropriate to require any of your workers to take leave before the end of the leave year by giving notice.  The notice should be at least twice the number of days you require someone to take.  So, two weeks' notice to take one week's leave.

Specific circumstances

Consider any specific individual circumstances that may require a different approach to manage the risk of complaints and litigation. 


Review your rules to ensure that they are fit for purpose.

Employment law and HR update

Our annual update events were held in Manchester and London at the start of June and once again were a great success.  Thank you to all those who attended.

He that will not apply new remedies must expect new evils; for time is the greatest innovator.

Francis Bacon

Contact Watershed

Telephone: +44 161 703 5611


Ryecroft, Aviary Road, Worsley, Manchester M28 2WF

Can we help?

If you want to find out more about our services, events or our employment law and HR expertise contact us  on +44 161 703 5611 and one of our dedicated advisers would be more than happy to help.