Last week we discussed the questions that remained unanswered regarding holiday and furlough. For those that missed it, the blog is available here.
There's been no official guidance since then, but Steve* has been busy answering questions on HMRC's official twitter site and appears to be saying that workers can be furloughed and take holiday at the same time. It's not clear if other employers will be able to rely on these twitter exchanges if this position is later altered or challenged by HMRC. But, even if the information is reliable, it comes too late for many employers who have already furloughed staff and cancelled pre-booked holiday over the bank holiday weekend.
Acas have also changed their advice and now say:
"If an employee or worker is temporarily sent home because there’s no work and the employer intends to claim for their wages under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ('furloughed'), they can still request and take their holiday in the usual way. This includes bank holidays [and]
Employees and workers may still be required to use a day’s paid holiday for bank holidays, including when they’re furloughed."
However, the role of Acas is to interpret the law, not to make it and so it's interpretation is not necessarily correct.
In the same twitter exchange, Steve confirmed that employers do have to pay their staff their normal wages when they are on holiday and appears to suggest that employers just have to top up the 80% furlough grant. Our views on holiday pay remain unchanged and are available here.
We can only hope that the government/HMRC clarify these issues as a matter of urgency and provide updated guidance that employers can rely on.
* Steve isn't the only HMRC responding to twitter requests!
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