COVID-19: Annual Leave ‘Buy Back’ (Phase 2 – 2021)

Ambulance side shot

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to place significantly increased demand on the NHS and EEAST.  We 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 2020/21 and/or 2021/22 annual leave entitlement.  The Trust is therefore offering to buy back annual leave during the period 18th January to 31st March 2021.  Employees can also choose to cancel and ‘sell’ any pre-booked leave due to be taken during this period.

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 (2020/21 or 2021/22) leave entitlement. An Employee Annual Leave buy-back (Phase 2 – 2021) Action Card is available on EAST24 which provides details on how to make an application.

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

  • Applications to ‘sell’ leave can only be approved where this is to support the delivery of services during the COVID-19 pressures
  • Staff must have taken or booked their statutory minimum AL allowance of 28 days (210 hours) including public holidays / 20 days (150 hours) where public holidays are not front-loaded on GRS (pro rata for part-time employees)
  • Applications can be for a maximum of 37.5 hours (pro-rata for part time staff)
  • Employees who ‘sold’ leave from the same personal leave year under the previous scheme will be eligible under Phase 2 provided they have taken/ booked sufficient AL.
  • Employees who wish to cancel and ‘sell’ leave booked during this period will return to their substantive shift if they have a rota line. Relief staff will be planned a shift as appropriate.
  • ‘Sold’ annual leave will be paid at plain time
  • Applications must be supported by your line manager, following a review of your health and wellbeing
  • The scheme will remain open for applications until 31st March 2021. The Trust reserves the right to end or extend the scheme following a review.
  • Payment of approved applications will be paid in either the May or June 2021 pay period. Payment will be made at this time to ensure accurate processing with the Trust’s outsourced payroll provider.
  • 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 29th January 2021