COVID-19: Annual Leave ‘Buy Back’

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The COVID-19 pandemic is placing exceptional demands on the NHS and EEAST. We will need to ensure that we have as many staff as possible at work to enable us to deliver services through the pandemic.

The Trust understands that increased operational requirements will mean that it will be difficult for some staff to take all of their 2019/20 and/or 2020/21 annual leave entitlement. The government has indicated that they will amend the Working Time Regulations to enable the ‘carry over’ of more annual leave (potentially up to four weeks) for key workers between leave years than is possible under current legislation. The Trust will provide more guidance on how this will work in practice shortly.

In the meantime all Trust staff on substantive or fixed term contracts will have the opportunity to ‘sell’ up to 1 week’s (37.5 hours) annual leave from their current (2019/20 or 2020/21) leave entitlement. The process for applying to sell leave can be found on the Up-to-date Guidance on COVID-19 page on Need to Know.

There are a few key elements of the process that all staff should be aware of:

  • All applications to sell leave must be caused by COVID-19 service pressures
  • Staff must have taken/booked or give an undertaking to take their statutory minimum AL allowance of 28 days (210 hours) including public holidays, pro rata for part-time employees 20 days (150 hours) where public holidays are not front-loaded on GRS
  • Applications can be for a maximum of 37.5 hours (pro-rata for part time staff)
  • ‘Sold’ annual leave will be at paid at plain time
  • Applications must be supported by your line manager
  • Staff can cancel leave already booked if this supports service delivery.
  • The scheme will remain open for applications until at least 30th June 2020 and may be extended
  • Payment of approved applications will not be made before the August 2020 pay period
  • If staff leave the Trust having taken more than their accrued leave entitlement (including hours ‘sold’ through this process) their final salary will be amended accordingly.

If you are unsure of any details, or have any questions, please contact email


Published 3rd April 2020

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