Information on the carry forward of annual leave from 2022-23 TO 2023-24


1. During the COVID-19 pandemic, various measures were agreed to deal with untaken leave at the end of a given leave year. As we approach the end of the 2022-23 leave year, questions have been raised around whether any variation to the normal rules will be put in place for the transition to 2023-24.

2. Following discussions via the Secretariat, the Scottish Terms and Conditions Committee would firstly wish to emphasise how important it is that staff take their full entitlement of annual leave within a given leave year, where this is possible. Leave allows time away from work for rest and recuperation and this is especially important where staff have been put under pressure during a challenging time in the NHS.

3. STAC have agreed that there will be a one year only variation for 2022-23. Staff and managers should in the first instance work together to agree how any remaining leave can be taken before 1 April 2023. The default position is that staff will use their annual leave within the leave year.

4. However, where service pressures make it impossible for the entirety of a staff member’s leave to be taken, the usual rules limiting carry forward of annual leave to 5 days can be relaxed to ensure that staff do not lose any annual leave through no fault of their own. Managers should however prioritise making sure that each member of staff has taken at least the statutory minimum of 28 days before the end of the current leave year.

5. For those members of staff who have been unable to take their full entitlement, they should be given preferential consideration in being given annual leave in 2023-24 and the expectation would be that all untaken annual leave from 2022-23 should be taken by 30 June 2023. Boards should ensure that both their Staff Governance Committee and Area Partnership Forum continue to monitor the situation.

6. Carrying forward annual leave should be seen as the exception rather than the rule and only considered when it proves impossible for staff to take their whole leave entitlement. The intention will be to move back to normal provisions in future years so staff and managers are reminded that any leave carried forward into 2023-24 should be taken in 2023-24 as well as that year’s entitlement.