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Carrying over and selling annual leave

The past two years have been extremely difficult with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and everyone’s continued hard work to recover from it. This huge effort to deliver the best care possible to our patients has meant that many staff have not been able to take their annual leave, as they would have done usually.

As such, the Trust will again this year be offering the opportunity for all staff to sell back annual leave. The details of the scheme are as below.

Last year, in recognition of the exceptional circumstances and to ensure staff did not lose out on their annual leave, the Trust also took the decision to remove the limit on the number of days that could be carried over. This meant that any leave remaining at 31 March 2022 could be carried forward, but needed to be taken by 31 October 2023 - with a variation for junior doctors where the leave period is aligned to the placement and different arrangements are in in place. This position remains, however any new requests to carry forward leave will follow the usual process as outlined within the annual leave procedure.

Where it is possible to take any outstanding leave before the end of this leave year, managers and staff should work together to achieve this in the interests of occupational health, safety and wellbeing.

Selling annual leave

The opportunity to sell annual leave back to the Trust will also be available to all colleagues.

Those who wish to sell leave must apply in the last quarter of the annual leave year (January to March). The next opportunity for selling annual leave will therefore open in January 2024, but colleagues can plan for that now, if they anticipate that they would like to do this.

If you purchase additional leave, but find you are unable to use it by the end of the annual leave year, you can carry over a maximum of five days. Please note, you will not be able to sell leave that you have purchased. This varies for junior doctors, where the leave period is aligned to the placement and different arrangements are in place.

Applying to sell annual leave

To apply to sell annual leave, staff need to complete the "Selling annual leave template" that can be found under "Downloads" on this page.

All fields on the form must be completed before submission to your line manager. Your line manager will then be responsible for progressing your request through to the next step.

Staff will be able to make a request to sell leave from Friday 27 January 2023, and the deadline for submitting a request will be Friday 3 March 2023.

Line managers will then review all requests and submit them to their nominated divisional link (which will be communicated locally), in order for the managing director/medical director/director of nursing for the division or corporate director to complete final sign off and submission to payroll by Friday 31 March 2023.

Authorisation of requests

Divisions and corporate areas will manage leave locally this year. Approval to sell up to one week of leave will be authorised by the employee's direct line manager.

Following review and confirmation that the employee has the leave to sell, this will be processed centrally with final approval from the managing director/medical director/director of nursing for the division or corporate director before submitting to payroll for payment in April 2023.

It will be the line manager's responsibility to ensure that they record the selling of annual leave for approved requests and adjust the annual leave entitlement for staff accordingly.

Payment for approved requests

For both monthly and weekly paid staff, the payment for annual leave sold will be paid in the April 2023 pay run.

Carrying over annual leave

This option is available to all UHB staff. This includes staff on long-term absence such as maternity/parental leave and those on long-term sickness absence.

Staff who carried over more than five days of annual leave last year, following the Trust's decision to remove the limit on the number of days that could be carried over due to the exceptional circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, can carry forward the same number of days through to the 2023/24 annual leave year, but these days must be taken no later than 31 October 2023.

With the exception of the above, all other new requests to carry over of annual leave will follow the usual process and criteria as outlined in the annual leave procedure.

Questions and answers

Can a request be made to sell annual leave as well as carry over annual leave?

Yes, this can be requested. Please note however that managers must balance the health, safety and welfare of the individual and the service needs of the Trust.

What if a request to sell annual leave is rejected?

The approving manager will provide a rationale for the rejection and must also discuss their reasons with the staff member who submitted the request.

My staff do not have access to the online form, how can they apply to sell their leave?

Managers will need to complete the template on behalf of their staff who do not have access to a computer/internet during work. The same consideration and approval will be required.

When will sold annual leave be paid, and how will I receive this?

Sold annual leave will be paid as a lump sum in April 2023. This will be reflected on the payslip.

What rate will sold annual leave be paid at?

The rate of pay will be calculated on the staff member's basic salary as at 31 March 2023 for those on Agenda for Change, and on standard contractual pay as at 31 March 2023 for medical and dental staff (in accordance with their rota template/job plan).

Will there be any deductions from the payment?

Yes, standard income tax and national insurance deductions will be made from the payment.

Will the payment be pensionable?

No, the payment is not pensionable.

Can leave already booked be cancelled, if the staff member cannot use it before 31 March 2023?

Any requests for cancelling annual leave should be discussed and consideration given as to the reason for the cancellation.

Staff may carry untaken leave over following a discussion and agreement with their manager and/or have the option to sell one week of annual leave by completing the form no later than Friday 3 March 2023. Please note however, in the interests of staff wellbeing, a line manager will need to consider the interests of occupational health, safety and wellbeing of all staff.

Can staff on long-term sickness absence carry over their contractual annual leave?

Staff on long-term sickness are supported to take annual leave in order to maintain their physical and mental health and wellbeing through rest and recuperation.

However, in circumstances where an individual does have untaken leave, they may sell up to one week/12 PAs of leave (pro rata for part time staff) and/or carry over untaken leave by specific agreement with their manager. Staff may want to consider using annual leave in advance of any return from absence and to phase their return back in to work activity. Managers of staff who have been on long-term absence should discuss the return to work reorientation plan with individuals, recognising that a return after any significant period of time out of the workplace needs a period of resettling and adjustment, and also recognising that some staff returning may experience heightened anxiety.

My line manager has recorded me as having booked annual leave on the roster without discussing this with me first. Can they do this?

Managers cannot book leave for staff without having the discussion with the member of staff first.

If the manager is worried about the staff member not utilising their annual leave proportionately and are concerned that they are not getting their rest breaks, then the manager should arrange to discuss these concerns with the member of staff in the first instance and agree a plan on how they can take their remaining annual leave days.

If a member of staff is unhappy about a decision made on their request for selling annual leave, they should discuss this with the approving manager in the first instance.

If there is no resolution, they can write to the Human Resources Advisory Team by email for their request to be independently reviewed. The outcome of that independent review will be final.

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