Annual Leave expectations for 2021

As we progress through the latest national lockdown, we are aware that colleauges may be facing a number of competing priorities. This might be a hugely stressful time for those juggling work and family commitments, such as those who are in positions of caring for others, or those with school and nursery-aged children.

Despite how busy we are – but also because of this – it’s vitally important that we give ourselves proper breaks from work when possible.

To ensure colleagues continue to look after themselves, the University is recommending that local management teams ensure proper breaks from work are being taken and that managers promote the booking of annual leave, especially where a considerable amount is being accrued.

To support this, the University has set out expectations that leave will be utilised throughout the year, as follows:  

  • Leave carried forward from 2020 will be used before the end of March 2021 (subject to any exceptions as covered below) 
  • 10 days of the allocation for 2021 are expected to be taken or agreed in the HR system by the end of June 2021 
  • A further 10 days are expected to be taken or agreed in the HR system by the end of September 2021 
  • Any remaining days are expected to be taken by the end of December 2021 (subject to any management agreed carry forward)

These expectations apply equally to all colleagues, including those on furlough. 

Leave should be planned and booked as far as possible in advance and should be mindful of the fact that at this time the expectation is that up to 5 days may be carried forward into 2022 as normal (with local management agreement).  

Where leave balances remain high at or around the dates mentioned above, local management teams will work directly with colleagues to ensure leave is scheduled appropriately. Any local variations to the above position (for example, to account for specific operational pressures) will be communicated accordingly. 

As noted above, any leave carried forward from 2020 must be used by 31 March 2021. Any extension to this will be with the express agreement of the local management team in exceptional circumstances only (for example, due to operational pressures). Those on furlough during this period must also continue to utilise leave in the normal way and local management teams will work with colleagues to ensure this is scheduled appropriately. 

There is more information and resources available on our HR webpages, including policies around work-life balance and on the HR Coronavirus Hub.


First published: 29 January 2021