I think 2020 was probably the first year in recent memory that I’ve not been on an aeroplane, not experienced any vitamin D whatsoever or spoken loudly and slowly (in English) to a foreigner like every other British idiot on the continent.

But this year promises to be a bumper one for hols as resorts, airlines and the travel industry finally get to make up for lost time this summer, and as we do too. Surprisingly there’s also government help on-hand, which thanks to COVID-19 has altered the rules around carrying forward your holiday. As a result, your usual 25 days holiday entitlement may stretch as far as 70 days holiday in 2021!

Easter – 16 days holiday for 9 days holiday entitlement

Let’s first deal with bank holidays. As ever there are eight and¬†Easter is the biggie, as ever thanks to the Good Friday and Easter Monday bank hols. By burning up nine days holiday you can net 16 days off.

Get onto HR now and request Monday 29th March until Thursday 1st April off, and Tuesday 6th April until Friday 9th April and with the weekends included you’ll have a straight run of 16 days out of the office.

That’s enough time to take a long haul trip to the Far East or the Seychelles or Caribbean, all of which will be ideal temperatures around April time providing you’ve got proof of being vaccinated (we’re assuming this will become a normal requirement, some destinations are already requiring it).

2021 Bank Holidays…

Friday 1st January – New Year’s Day
Friday 2nd April – Good Friday
Monday 5th April – Easter Monday
Monday 3rd May – Early May bank holiday
Monday 31st May – Spring bank holiday
Monday 30th August – Summer bank holiday
Monday 27th December – Christmas Day (substitute day)
Tuesday 28th December – Boxing Day (substitute day)

Get onto HR now...

Two May Bank Hols Means 18 Days Holiday For Eight Days Entitlement

Your colleagues will have just about remembered who you are again after your unprecedented 16 day holiday when *zip*, you’re off again. Twice.

Use the May Day holiday on Monday 3rd May to bag nine days continual leave by taking off Tuesday 4th May until Friday 7th May.

Colleagues will have just about remembered who you are again... when *zip*, you're off again. Twice.

Then pull the exact same trick again at the end of the month for the spring bank holiday on Monday 31st May by requesting Tuesday 1st June until Friday 4th June off.

August Bank Holiday (Another Nine Days)

It’s getting old hat now, but fancy another nine days holiday for just four from your allowance? Fear not, the same stunt you irritated your work-mates with in May still applies.

Make the most of the Monday 30th August bank hol by taking off Tuesday 31st August until Friday 3rd September.

Christmas Present To Yourself: Three Days Leave For Ten Days Holiday

Christmas Day and Boxing Day both fall on weekends this Christmas, which means that the bank holidays are shifted slightly too.

Use these days plus New Year’s Day 2022 (wow, that feels like a long way off!) to give yourself ten straight days off. Perhaps head off for some winter sun.

So you’ll need to ask HR for Wednesday 29th December until Friday 31st December off, and the rest will take care of itself. See you on the 2nd Jan with a tan!

So that’s how we get from 24 days holiday to a whopping 53. Neat eh? Well there’s more…

COVID-19 (Holiday) Bounce?

Under UK law we are entitled to 5.6 weeks holiday each year (in the US it’s zero!). Unless your boss is kind or it’s in your contract, this has to be taken in the year it falls. However, because coronavirus basically scotched everyone’s holiday plans the government was worried the nation would just down-tools and take a huge holiday the moment lockdown’s over, so to protect against this they’ve allowed us to carry over holiday to next year.

Confusingly your statutory entitlement is split into two parts. Under EU law (I know, we’re not in the EU any more, but for some reason this seems to be carrying over – got your blue passports at least…) we are all entitled to four weeks holiday. However, the UK government generously tops this up by another 1.6 weeks to 5.6. For whatever reason the 4 weeks cannot be carried over usually. However, because of COVID-19 you can now carry forward your four weeks.

This means that you can nab another 20 days on top of the 53 we’ve already uncovered, giving you an incredible 73 days holiday entitlement for next year. If, like me, you’ve got 26 days then that’s even better, you’ve got up to 75!

Finally, A Note About Furlough Hols

Most of us hadn’t really heard the word ‘furlough’ until Chancellor Rishi Sunak bought it front-and-foremost with his whizzy scheme to pay workers who might otherwise be laid off due to coronavirus. But the scheme does raise a couple of holiday related issues.

Firstly, remember that you’re still accruing leave while you’re on your furlough. So if you’re putting together your tenth jigsaw of the week right now, know that you’re still earning future holiday!

A lot of companies are topping up the government’s 80% salary to 100% so that workers don’t lose out. However, if you’re only on 80% AND if your company is forcing you to use your holiday allowance while on furlough (which is totally in their rights to do), then your holiday taken must be paid at 100% salary, not at the furlough rate.

Also, assuming you normally get bank holidays off then bank holidays that fall within furlough (there have been four so far) should be paid at 100% salary as well.

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