As we move into the summer season, I wanted to provide you with some guidance on holidays, specifically in relation to the impact that COVID-19 may have on your plans this year.

I know that many of you are currently working extremely hard to ensure we continue to keep our people safe, keep Britain fed and protect our business. However, it is more vital than ever that we also get rest and relaxation, and I would therefore encourage everyone to make sure they take some time off. I took the last week in May off and it was just what was needed to recharge my batteries.

Despite the current crisis, we will still be expecting everyone to use all of their annual leave within this holiday year, unless this is not reasonably practicable. For example; I am aware that there are areas of the business where increases in demand have meant colleagues have been unable to take leave over the last three months. We will do everything we can to support you in being able to take your holidays through the rest of the year.

You will be aware that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is currently advising against all but essential travel. If you are planning to travel abroad, current Government guidance is that you would be required to self-isolate for 14 days on return from many places. You can find out more about this by visiting Colleagues travelling back from abroad while these restrictions are in place may need to request annual leave for the period they wish to be abroad plus the two week isolation period.

Requesting this amount of annual leave in one go is not usually common practice. We need to ensure we have enough colleagues at work to meet production demand while balancing the need for colleagues to have time off. Requests for extended periods of leave, including any required quarantine periods, will need to be reviewed by your local management team.

Colleagues who are furloughed are not currently able to take any annual leave they had booked or request new periods of annual leave while they are off. They will continue to accrue these holidays and will be able to take them when they return to work. They may wish to take some of these at the end of their furlough period, before returning to work.

I realise that the current travel restrictions, the significant workloads many of us are managing, the impact of lockdown and school disruption, all mean that making plans for holidays is more difficult than usual. However, I would encourage you to spend time thinking about when you want to be off and requesting this with your manager. It will help us to balance and manage these requests and ensure you and fellow colleagues get the time off that is needed.

If you have any queries about your holidays or need further advice, please speak to your manager.

Best wishes,

Guy Dullage
Chief People Officer

Recent articles

For a better experience on this site, please enable JavaScript in your browser