Annual leave arrangements

Arrangements associated with the management of annual leave should continue to apply to ensure employees receive a proportionate amount of annual leave throughout the leave year for the purposes of rest and relaxation.

Due to operational reasons caused in main by the impact of COVID-19 on services ability to authorise annual leave, the leave year for 2021 has been extended to 31 March 2022 for employees.  Thereafter normal annual leave provisions will apply.

Some key points relating to managing annual leave arrangements are noted below:

Booking a holiday abroad

In order to prevent new COVID variants from entering the UK, employees are advised not to travel to a red list country. 

Red List Countries

Employees will require to take annual leave or unpaid leave if they are required to quarantine or self-isolate on their return.  The only exception to this will be when an employee has to travel abroad for essential reasons e.g. as a consequence of a family illness or bereavement. In these circumstances, paid special leave or homeworking (if appropriate) will be granted.

All Other Countries

Before Booking a Holiday Abroad

Anyone who has or intends to book a holiday abroad will need to check with their manager that, if required, they can take additional annual leave or unpaid leave if they need to self-isolate on return from their holiday abroad.

Testing and self-isolation requirements may change at any time, therefore, employees should plan for additional leave or unpaid leave to accommodate any government requirements that may be in place at that time.

Managers will continue to have discretion to approve annual leave based on the length of time required or possibly required and in line with operational requirements.

For employees who were already abroad on 30th November 2021 when the testing requirements changed during their stay, they will be able to work from home or be granted special leave (if homeworking is not feasible) for any period they are required to quarantine or self-isolate on their return.

Any employee who chooses to travel abroad going forward will be required to take annual leave or unpaid leave on their return for any period that they are required to quarantine or self-isolate.  Term time employees will not have the ability to take additional annual leave so will require to take unpaid leave.

Returning from Travel Abroad

Further information from the Scottish Government on international travel can be found here:

Coronavirus (COVID-19): international travel and managed isolation (quarantine) – (

Information on any specific requirements that may differ for fully vaccinated or not fully vaccinated individuals returning to Scotland is also detailed in the link above.

Those travelling abroad should check in advance if there are any requirements to isolate/quarantine on arrival at their abroad destination or on return to Scotland. Further information can be found here:  FCDO travel advice for the countries you will visit

Updated on 1st December 2021

Was this article helpful?

Related Articles