Annual Leave: Use it or lose it!

Written by Jennifer Ormond
8 July, 2022

Annual Leave – use it or lose it.

At the end of each annual leave year the inevitable question crops up: “My staff haven’t used all of their annual leave, can they carry it over to next year?”

The basic principle of annual leave is that if you don’t use it, you lose it. There are some exceptions to this rule but usually the annual leave accrued that year must be used in that year.

Annual leave allows staff to have a sufficient break from work and permitting employees to carry leave over can sometimes create a practice of ‘saving up’ annual leave. This, therefore, runs the risk that employees are not taking enough time off as a break each year and employers fall short of their legal obligation to permit the time off to be taken.

There are some exceptions to watch out for. Firstly where an employee is unable to work due to long-term sickness, they are usually entitled to carry over 4 weeks of annual leave to the next year.

Secondly, when an employee is on family-friendly leave (maternity, adoption leave etc) the annual leave can be carried over to the following year when they return to work.


Making annual leave less of an HR headache

Annual leave calculations can be confusing.  They can cause all sorts of problems for employers. We aim to work with employers to make annual leave calculations simple and accurate.


Our FREE Annual Leave How to Guide, sets out the method that the law prescribes is used to calculate annual leave.  You can download a copy of the How to Guide here.


To make calculating annual leave entitlement as simple as possible, we always recommend that employers keep accurate records of annual leave that has been taken.

Using a reliable HR software system enables employers to keep track of all annual leave records as well as any absences.

Employment Law Solutions HR Software solution is the perfect extension for any business, from as little as £3.50 per employee, this software allows the stress to be taken from managing your employees. Find out more.



Why stress?

Why stress yourself trying to work out the correct annual leave entitlement for your staff?  Our lawyers can do this for you s part of your free hours worth of advice.  Get in touch with us today.

You might also like…

Newsletter sign up


Next Steps: Sync an Email Add-On

To get the most out of your form, we suggest that you sync this form with an email add-on. To learn more about your email add-on options, visit the following page ( Important: Delete this tip before you publish the form.

Follow Us

Stay up to date with our latest news and advice from the team on social media

Download our HR How to Guides

Annual leave, Sunday working, group redundancy, stand-alone redundancy and disciplinary – we have some great tips in our resource pack.

Related Articles

An employer’s guide to the work Christmas party

An employer’s guide to the work Christmas party

When considering the work christmas party it would be easy to fall into a spiral of rulemaking and declaring fun absorbing dictats of course, not to control the fun or quell the festive spirit, but rather to try and prevent any HR headaches throughout the festivities and into the New Year to ensure everyone has a good time.