• Coronavirus - Annual Leave and Public Holidays FAQsNational Services Scotland

    1. I was unable to fully utilise my 2019/20 annual leave entitlement due to COVID 19 work pressures in my department.  Am I permitted for this reason to carry forward my unused leave?

    In the circumstances you describe, theStaff may – with agreement from their manager – have cancelled annual leave in order to support cover of key services

    Staff may also be seeking to postpone their annual leave scheduled in March, due to cancellation of flights and trips abroad.

    normal carry over leave provisions within both the NHS Scotland Annual Leave Policy (for staff under Agenda for Change and Executive Level terms and conditions) and Medical and Dental Terms and Conditions, will be waived and your full untaken leave will be carried over to the 2020/21 leave year.

     

    2. I agreed with my manager that I would delay taking my leave in March in order to support COVID-19 related work, and I have carried this leave forward into 2019/20.  I am concerned that I may not have sufficient time to fully utilise my now enhanced 2020/21 leave entitlement.  Can I be paid for the carry forward leave?

    Staff who carried forward leave from the 2019/20 leave year due to COVID 19 related reasons, can request payment of their unused annual leave.  You should discuss this with your manager and complete the COVID-19 Carry Forward Annual Leave Payment Form.  Payment for this leave will be as if at work.

     

    3.  I was asked to delay taking my leave during March 2019 because of COVID-19 and have carried this forward.  I’ve opted to take this as annual leave but have not yet decided when.  Can I change my mind further down the line and ask for payment instead?

    It would be preferable where possible that staff provide a decision either to use their carry forward leave or request payment for this as early as possible into the new leave year of 2020/21.  However, where staff have chosen to take annual leave and then change their mind, staff should discuss this with their line manager to ensure there is no impact on service provision and agreement can be made for payment to be provided.

     

    4. I asked my manager if I could cancel 7 days’ annual leave that I had booked in March 2020 because my holiday was cancelled as a result of COVID-19. In the circumstances, my manager agreed to this and to me carrying forward these 7 days into the 2020/21 leave year.  Can I get this carry forward leave paid?

    It is recognised that there were a number of wider impacts on staff that came indirectly due to COVID-19.  Staff who carried forward annual leave from 2019/20 due to an indirect consequence of COVID-19 – for example, flights or holiday were cancelled during March 2020 - can carry the untaken leave forward into 2020/21 and can opt to either use the untaken leave during 2020/21 or request payment of all or part of the untaken leave paid.

     

    5. Staff in my team are reluctant to book leave at this present time in the hope that current lockdown measures will be lifted.  What should I advise my staff as I am concerned there will be a high level of annual leave requests for later in the year that for business reasons will be unmanageable?

    It is understandable that staff may wish to hold back their annual leave in the hope that the current lockdown and requirements for social-distancing will end soon.  However, the current signs are that the current restrictions arising from COVID-19 are likely to continue for some time. 

    Staff may not be able to take the type of holidays they are used to, such as trips abroad, but they can however still plan for leave away from their work. It is also important for staff to regularly take leave in order to support their wellbeing and work life balance and managers should encourage staff to plan their leave throughout the 2020/21 leave year.

    From an operational perspective, this will also ensure that staff annual leave continues to be allocated throughout the year enabling staff cover to be planned.

     

    6. I am self-isolating due to symptoms of COVID-19 but do not feel well enough to work from home.  I have a few days annual leave booked at this time.  Do I get my annual leave back?

    If you are self-isolating and do not feel well enough to work from home, the normal sick leave provisions should apply in relation to your leave.  Therefore, as long as you have followed the correct reporting procedures, you should receive your booked annual leave back.

     

    7. I am self-isolating due to symptoms of COVID-19 but I am well enough to work from home.  I have a few days annual leave booked.  Do I get this annual leave back?

    If you are self-isolating due to symptoms of COVID-19 but are feeling well enough to continue to work from home, you should discuss this with your line manager.  It is possible for you to take your annual leave, if you are still working and your manager may well encourage you to do so, particularly from a health and wellbeing perspective as it is important that you have ‘downtime’ away from your work.

     

    8. I am currently self-isolating and working from home for 14 days because a household member has symptoms of COVID-19.  I have 5 days annual leave booked.  Do I get my annual leave back because I’m self-isolating?

    If you are self-isolating because a household member has symptoms of COVID-19 but are continuing to work from home, you should discuss this with your line manager.  As you are still working from home, it is possible for you to take your annual leave and your manager may well encourage you to do so, particularly from a health and wellbeing perspective as it is important that you have ‘downtime’ away from your work.

     

    9. I am currently shielding until the end of June and I’m working from home.  I have 2 weeks' annual leave booked.  Do I get my annual leave back because I’m shielding?

    It is recognised that where staff have been issued with a shield letter from Scottish Government, this means their individual movements are restricted even within the home environment. Under these circumstances it would not be reasonable to expect staff to take any annual leave during the time of the shield restrictions.  Staff in this position are asked however to ensure their managers are provided with a copy of the shielding letter and to engage in discussions locally to agree how to plan annual leave when the shielding restrictions have ended.

     

    10. What if a staff member in my team does not take the minimum full statutory leave entitlement during 2020/21?

    Given that the COVID-19 situation is likely to continue for some time to come, it is essential that managers monitor the leave of staff at regular intervals throughout 2020/21 and identify early those staff who have higher than normal amounts of leave still to take, so that they can be encouraged to schedule their untaken leave. 

    The expectation for NSS, as determined by DL (2020)9, is that all staff are expected to take the minimum statutory leave within 2020/21 leave year.

    Managers should therefore work with staff to plan annual leave throughout the year and ensure that there is a balanced allocation of leave across the team. 

    Annual leave should be managed effectively to enable staff to take their full leave entitlement during 2020/21.  If due to COVID-19, this is not possible for everyone, the above approach should help ensure that staff at least receive their statutory leave entitlement.