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Can an employee be on furlough and annual leave at the same time?

At the moment, the current Government guidance for both employers and employees is silent on how the CJRS interacts with annual leave / holiday pay.

However, ACAS has issued some guidance which gives examples on when it will be impractical to take holiday, among which is if the employee has “been temporarily sent home as there’s no work (“laid off” or “put on furlough”)”.

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ACAS therefore seems to be suggesting here that you cannot be on furlough and holiday at the same time.

However, this does not appear to be consistent with the Scheme for the reasons below.

  1. Employers reclaiming under the CJRS for furlough leave are entitled to claim money from HMRC for those of their employees who are taking holiday leave while furloughed. The one is not inconsistent with the other.
  2. Eligibility for CJRS furlough payments simply require the employee not to be at work, and not working. If the employee is on annual leave, they are not at work and not working. The two are therefore consistent, not inconsistent.
  3. There seems to be no reason why two weeks’ holiday cannot count as two of the minimum three weeks’ furlough leave needed to claim a salary repayment from HMRC under the CJRS.

As such, it is strongly arguable that an employee can be on furlough and annual leave at the same time.

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