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Annual Leave and Carry Over Guidance

Overarching Principles

We appreciate that the Coronavirus pandemic will have impacted the holiday plans of many staff. It is important, nevertheless, to take annual leave to get an extended break from work, even if you are not currently able to travel, see family or friends, or undertake your normal holiday activities. This may, in fact, be more critical for your health and wellbeing now, during this period of remote working and considerable change and uncertainty.

The pandemic is expected to have a significant impact on the economy and Queen Mary. As such, we are also conscious of the need to prevent a build-up of untaken annual leave which would affect our operations next year and put additional pressure on staff to cover for their colleagues. Therefore, except in the specific circumstances outlined below, please request and take your annual leave before the end of the annual leave year (31 July 2020), in line with normal expectations. You should request your annual leave through MyHR for approval by your line manager. 

If, due to business requirements, it has not been possible for a member of staff to take their leave within the 2019/2020 leave year, line managers have discretion to agree up to five days’ carry over (pro rata for part-time staff). Requests for carry over should be made in June/July (or earlier if preferred) with a view to obtaining the necessary approval, and must be formally processed on MyHR in August in line with normal procedure:

In approving up to five days’ carry over, line managers should agree a clear plan for use of this annual leave within a reasonable timeframe.

The usual adjusted carry over procedures for those staff on maternity / shared parental leave or on long-term sickness leave (not related to Coronavirus) remain applicable. For further information, please speak to your line manager or contact your HR Advisor.

The Working Time (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020

The Government has amended the Working Time Regulations 1998. Where it is not reasonably practicable for a member of staff to take their outstanding annual leave within the leave year due to the effects of Coronavirus, carry over of up to 20 days’ annual leave will be permitted, (pro rata for part-time staff). Such leave must be taken within the 2020/2021 and 2021/2022 Queen Mary annual leave years.

In the vast majority of cases, it is expected that staff will be able to take their holiday entitlement within the annual leave year. Therefore, the above provision will apply to a limited number of staff and staff groups. These may include: 

  • “Key Workers”, as defined by the Government, predominantly in the School of Medicine & Dentistry; 
  • A limited number of staff responsible for maintaining on-campus or IT services, defined as “Queen Mary Essential Workers”;
  • Staff who have reported and logged long-term (over four weeks’) sickness absence on MyHR and via the staff health mailbox due to a confirmed or suspected case of Coronavirus.
  • Staff who have reported and logged long-term (over four weeks’) absence due to self-isolation on MyHR and via the staff health mailbox as a result of a potential Coronavirus infection.

If you believe that you fall within one of these categories and wish to carry over more than five days’ annual leave, please raise this with your line manager in the first instance and indicate how many days of your outstanding annual leave you wish to carry over. In the case of sickness absence or self-isolation, the number of days carry over may not exceed the number of days’ reported absence. Carry over will be subject to approval by the Faculty Operating Officer, Chief Operating Officer (SMD) or Chief Governance Officer.

Staff and line managers may contact their HR Advisor for information and advice regarding annual leave and carry over.


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