FURLOUGHED workers can boost their pay by taking annual leave over the Easter bank holiday.
Employees on the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme (CRJS) are currently receiving 80%, up to £2,500 a month, of their wages paid for by the Government.
Furloughed workers may be able to boost their pay by taking annual leave over the bank holiday weekendCredit: Getty – Contributor
The scheme offers financial support for those who can’t work under the current lockdown restrictions, for example because their workplace is closed or they’re shielding.
Employers are encouraged to top up wages to 100% but they don’t have to.
The scheme was launched in March last year and has been running for a year now, meaning millions of workers have been forced to take a pay cut.
Holiday pay – what happens if you can’t take holiday
HERE’S what options you have if you’re unable to take holiday.
When can your boss deny your holiday request?
As a general rule you need to give your boss a notice period of twice the amount of time you are taking for your holiday.
For example if you request five days of holiday you have to provide a minimum of ten days’ notice.
Your boss can force you to take holiday at certain times of year like Christmas and New Year or bank holidays when your workplace may be closed.
Companies can also set limits on how many days in a row you can take off to stop just taking a whole month off at once.
My boss won’t let me take any of the dates off that I have suggested
See how much time off the people you work with have taken off as well as how far in advance they let their boss know they were going to take time off.
See if they got similar treatment or if you are being unfairly treated.
You have a statutory right to your holiday and if you feel that is being infringed upon you can go to court.
Before you make a claim you need to talk to the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas).
They will try one last time to reconcile the issue, and if that fails they will give you guidance on how to make an employment tribunal claim
How do I calculate my holiday entitlement?
You can use this tool to calculate your holiday entitlement depending on your work status.
It all depends on your contract and whether or not you’re normally required to work bank holidays.
“If staff are contractually entitled to take bank holidays, they should be paid in full for any that fall during a period of furlough,” explained Alan Price, human resources expert at BrightHR.
“This means that with Good Friday being a designated bank holiday, full pay will be needed for Friday April 2.”
The same goes for bank holiday Monday, which falls on April 5.
But it’s not the same for everyone – for some workers, a bank holiday is considered a normal working day.
In this instance, a furloughed worker will continue to receive 80% of their wages for the day.
Furloughed staff on these types of contracts can actually increase their income by taking annual leave on the bank holidays.
Staff can accrue and take holiday if they’ve been furloughed in the same way they would in normal working conditions.
It might not be a popular choice to take days of your holiday entitlement at a time when you can’t use it to actually go away, but it can increase your pay packet if you need the cash.
Neha Thethi, head of employment at Lime Solicitors, said: “For those who are struggling to pay their bills, they may wish to take annual leave in order to boost their income.
“This is because annual leave must be paid at the employee’s normal rate of pay, rather than any reduced amount they receive during furlough.”
It means employers must top up your furloughed wages with the remaining 20% for the days when you’ve taken some of your holiday entitlement.
But many employers are struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic lockdown and if yours can’t afford to top up your salary, it may ask you to take the day in lieu when you return to your full salary.
For this to go ahead, you must give your formal consent.
Unfortunately, your employer doesn’t have to agree to let you take the days as annual leave, so you will continue to be paid 80% of your wages under the scheme if they refuse.
They should, however, give you the time back in lieu at an agreed later date.
Today lockdown rules are relaxed with people allowed to meet outside in groups of six, outdoor sport allowed again and the stay at home message officially canned.
The “stay local” rules have also been lifted meaning people in England can travel any distance over the Easter weekend.
For many, it will be the first time in more than six months they will be reunited with friends and family.