There is no statutory obligation on an employer to allow an employee to carry leave over to the following year, though this may not be the case where the employee has been on long term sick leave. Leave may generally only be carried over if the employer gives the employee permission or if it is stated in the employment contract and/or staff handbook.

There are many reasons why a business may need to make changes to its terms and conditions (see Changing Terms & Conditions) but in order to stay on the right side of the law during such periods it is essential to consult with employees, either collectively or individually depending on the situation.

An employer does not have the right to unilaterally change or vary contracts of employment and so a meaningful consultation process, whereby the business reasons for the changes are thoroughly explained and where the employees’ voices are heard and taken into account, is essential to avoid potential claims against the employer.

For information about our Employee Handbook advice or Contract of Employment advice, drafting and consultancy service, please visit our business service page.