After the changes to the off-payroll working rules being delayed by 12 months to help businesses and individuals through the current coronavirus outbreak, further changes have now been announced relating to holidays and gender pay gap reporting.
The Working Time (Coronavirus)(Amendment) Regulations 2020 (the "Amendment Regulations") relax the restrictions on carrying forward untaken annual leave into the next holiday year where the leave has not been taken because of the current pandemic. The change applies only to leave provided for under Regulation 13 of the Working Time Regulations - that is the 4 weeks of annual leave provided for under the Working Time Directive, it does not include the additional 1.6 weeks provided for under Regulation 13A of the Working Time Regulations.
The leave can be carried forward where it was "not reasonably practicable" for a worker to take some or all of his or her Regulation 13 leave as a result of the effects of coronavirus. The "effects of coronavirus" refers to the effect on the worker, the employer or the wider economy or society. The leave can be carried forward and taken in the two leave years immediately following the year in respect of which it was due.
Further down the line, at the point of the leave being requested, the Amendment Regulations restrict employers from refusing requests for leave on particular days only if they have "good reason" to do so. However, what amounts to a good reason is not defined.
Gender pay gap information for 2019-20 was due to be reported on by 30 March for public sector bodies and 4 April for private sector employers (with 250 or more employees). However, the Government Equalities Office and the Equality and Human Rights Commission confirmed on 24 March that the deadlines for reporting have been suspended for this year. This means employers are not expected to report on their data. At the time of the announcement only around 26% of the organisations due to report had done so. Employers can still report if they wish to do so.