Politics

Coronavirus: Employees unable to take annual leave can carry it over for two years - government - Sky News

5 April /2020
news-details Coronavirus: Employees unable to take annual leave can carry it over for two years - government - Sky News

Employees who cannot take all their annual leave due to the coronavirus pandemic will be able to carry it over for two years, the business secretary has said.

Alok Sharma announced the move at the government's daily briefing about the COVID-19 crisis.

He said: "We've introduced measures to ensure that workers who have not taken all of their statutory annual leave due to COVID-19 will now be able to carry that entitlement over into the next two years.

"This will protect staff from losing out, while providing businesses with flexibility when they need it most."

NHS England director Stephen Powis said at the briefing it would be a "good result" if there were under 20,000 coronavirus deaths in the UK once the pandemic is over.

He said: "If we can reduce the transmission rate... then the virus will start to decline in the population."

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Mr Powis continued: "The number of deaths that arise out of this epidemic in the UK, if it's less than 20,000 as Sir Patrick Vallance (the government's chief scientific adviser) said that would be a good result - although every death as I've said is absolutely a tragedy."

Mr Sharma also said there will be new measures to improve the insolvency system to help businesses hit by the coronavirus crisis.

He added that "red tape" will be reduced to allow new producers of hand sanitiser to bring products to market "in a matter of days".

Mr Sharma said at the news conference in Downing Street: "We are also introducing a range of measures to boost the supply of personal protective equipment, such as face masks, to protect frontline NHS staff.

"And we're removing administrative barriers to the production of hand sanitiser.

"By reducing the amount of red tape, new suppliers and businesses that produce ingredients for safe hand sanitiser will be able to bring their products to market in a matter of days."

Mr Sharma also said that he does not believe claims that the UK's response to the outbreak is lagging behind other countries.

The daily briefing comes after the number of people to have died in the UK after testing positive for the coronavirus rose by 259.

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