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Are you still entitled to holiday while on furlough and how does it affect your pay?

IF you have been furloughed by your employer, you can have 80 per cent of your wages, up to £2,500 a month, paid for by the government.

But there are other benefits linked to your job that you might not know whether you can still receive.

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Can you still take holiday if you're currently on furlough?
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Can you still take holiday if you're currently on furlough?Credit: Getty Images - Getty

One of these is taking a holiday and getting paid for the time you're on leave.

So what happens if you want to take leave when you are furloughed? And does it affect your furlough payments?

Here is everything you need to know.

What is my normal holiday allowance?

Your holiday allowance should be written into your contract if you're an employee.

For full-time workers, the minimum you're entitled to is 28 days' paid holiday a year, or 5.6 weeks - and this can include bank holidays.

Zero-hour and agency workers have the same entitlement to paid holiday, based on the average hours they have worked.

For part-time members of staff, their holiday pay will be based on the number of days worked a week multiplied by 5.6.

Self-employed workers don't usually get paid annual leave.

Do I still accrue holiday leave if I’ve been furloughed?

Workers who have been placed on furlough continue to accrue their statutory holiday entitlements, and any additional holiday provided under their normal employment contract.

That means your holiday entitlement remains unchanged if you have been furloughed.

Will taking a holiday affect my furlough pay?

Workers on furlough can take holiday as normal.

If a worker on furlough takes annual leave, an employer must calculate and pay the correct holiday pay in accordance with current legislation - just like any other time.

But if this rate is higher than the pay the worker receives while on furlough, your employer must pay the difference so you don’t miss out on what you would have normally received.

However, as taking holiday does not break the furlough period, your employer can continue to claim the 80 per cent grant from the government to cover most of the cost of holiday pay.

If due to the impact of coronavirus on operations your employer is unable to fund the difference, you might be allowed to carry your annual leave into next year.

If this happens, you must still be given the opportunity to take your annual leave, at the correct holiday pay, within two annual leave years.

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Can I be forced to take holiday by my employer during this time?

The normal rules for employers requiring a worker to take leave or to refuse a request for leave continue to apply.

So if your employer asks you to take leave, or says you can’t take holiday, they should explain why, and they should also give you notice.

But if your boss requires you to take holiday while on furlough, the government says they should consider whether any restrictions you are under, such as the need to socially distance or self-isolate, would prevent you from resting, relaxing and enjoying leisure time.

What about bank holidays?

Where a bank holiday falls inside a worker’s period of furlough and the worker would have usually worked the bank holiday, their furlough will be unaffected by the bank holiday.

However, if the worker would usually have had the bank holiday as annual leave, there are two options.

Either you can take the bank holiday as annual leave while on furlough, and you will get paid for it as normal.

Or if you are not allowed to take the bank holiday off, you should receive another day off at a later date so you still receive your full holiday allowance for the year.

You can find all the government guidance on taking holidays during a furlough period here.

Is furlough changing?

The furlough scheme has funded workers' salaries since March 1 and is now due to end on October 31.

But the scheme is changing from July 1.

From this date, bosses can bring furloughed employees back to work for any amount of time and shift pattern, and continue to claim furlough payments for the time they are not working.

Until now, workers haven't been allowed to work for their own company while on furlough, and they've also had to have been furloughed for at least three weeks at a time before working for their firm again.

In addition, from August, employers will have to contribute to wages, initially by paying national insurance and pension contributions.

From September, employers will have to pay those contributions plus 10 per cent of salaries.

Then from October they will have to pay those contributions plus 20 per cent of salaries.

If you don't qualify for furlough, here's how to get help if you're self-employed.

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