Annual leave and using holidays when working from home

Updated on 29 January 2021

How and when you can take annual leave when you are working from home

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We understand that, due to coronavirus, holiday plans will have changed for many staff. It is still important that you take annual leave to recharge your batteries and avoid ‘burn out’. This is very important, especially as many of us are now working from home so work never feels too far away. 

Teams will have their own pressure points over the course of this year and your manager will need to ensure staffing is in place to meet those demands.

It is important that you continue to take annual leave as you usually would, so that we don't end up with a large number of people all trying to take leave at a similar time. The end of April will be a quarter of the way through this year’s annual leave year. We encourage all staff to have taken at least one week of annual leave by this time. As was the case last year, 40-50% of annual leave should be taken by June and all leave entitlement taken by the end of the year. 

The exception to this is where there is a requirement to maintain a key service or activity. In these circumstances, we may have to ask you not to take annual leave or to be flexible about when you take it. We will avoid this wherever possible.

You still have to request your annual leave and have it approved by your line manager.

Carrying unused annual leave over

The usual rules will apply and you will not be allowed to carry-over annual leave into next year.

If there is a very good reason why you can't use your leave, a maximum of five days carry-over can be agreed with your Dean’s or Director’s approval. This would, however, be exceptional.

If you are furloughed

If you are furloughed you will continue to accrue annual leave during the furlough period and you are expected to take your normal annual leave allocation whilst furloughed. You will not be allowed to carry-over annual leave into next year.

Employees entitled to carry over annual leave

The government introduced a measure with the aim of supporting key industries such as healthcare and food distribution. The purpose of the amendment to the Working Time Regulations is to ensure that key workers, such as NHS staff who are prevented from taking holiday during this period, do not lose out on the annual leave that they are entitled to (under the Working Time Directive) as a result of their efforts to help the country deal with the pandemic.

Holiday plans

We would strongly advise you to keep up to date with the latest FCO travel advice and follow that advice while the pandemic is ongoing. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) also has produced travel insurance guidance​.


Human Resources


Human Resources and Organisational Development