How to Manage your Annual Leave Backlog

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Regardless of the employee’s length of employment or status, everyone is entitled to paid time off, whether they are part-time, full-time, temporary, or casual workers.

How can you manage your employee’s annual leave?

The spread of coronavirus has had many impacts on businesses. One of these impacts being the accumulated amount of annual leave for employees. An employee accrues annual leave for any hours worked. If an employee has been laid off, they do not accumulate it during this period.

Please note, employees accrue public holiday entitlements the first 13 weeks on layoff. A part-time employee will only qualify for a public holiday benefit if they have worked 40 hours in the five weeks preceding the public holiday.

The majority of employees will have annual leave entitlements remaining for 2020. This will not be easy for many businesses. To manage this successfully, HR Team recommend the following:Manage your annual leave backlog

Annual Leave Policy

Communicate the details of this policy to your employees. This policy sets out an employees’ entitlement to paid leave, identifies the relevant leave year period and accurately details the approach to carryover untaken leave. Statutory leave needs to be taken and should not be paid to the employee instead. Any annual leave over the statutory entitlement can be paid.


Inform your employees that everyone still has annual leave to take in a limited amount of time. Remind them, that it needs to be approved by management before they book any time off.


Actively encourage staff to take annual leave. It may be advisable for you to meet with individual employees who have a substantial number of days remaining. A record of these conversations should be kept on their file.


Keep track of an employee’s annual leave entitlement using a tracker. Where an employee still has annual leave remaining, you can issue them with reminders, primarily as the relevant leave year draws to a close. Employers are not required to force employees to take annual leave, but they must be able to show they have attempted to encourage their employee to take it. This means that employees must be:

• Fully informed of their entitlements.

• Actively encouraged to take their annual leave.

• Advised that the company will require them to take their holiday at a specific time.

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