The HSE National Director of Human Resources Ms Anne Marie Hoey recently wrote to hospital management stating NCHDs “may be entitled to payment” from their current employer in lieu of any outstanding annual leave.
In the circular sent on 10 March, Ms Hoey wrote that it had been difficult for hospital managers to facilitate some employees taking their full annual leave entitlement, while trying to maintain staffing levels and continuity of essential services, due to Covid-19 and the recent “winter surge”.
In these circumstances, any untaken annual leave which could not be granted by management within the current annual leave year, due to essential service needs, cannot be forfeited and should be carried over to the following annual leave year.
“Managers should ensure that a record is maintained of any annual leave that employees are precluded from taking within the current leave year due to service imperatives to ensure that it is carried over in full to the following leave year,” according to Ms Hoey.
Managers should engage with staff to ensure that plans are in place to enable employees to avail of unused annual leave within the following leave year.
Ms Hoey wrote that public health service employees are not entitled to receive payment in lieu of any outstanding annual leave unless the employment relationship is terminated.
However, exceptions can be made for NCHDs.
“It is recognised that in exceptional cases due to essential service needs, it may not be possible for managers in some instances to facilitate NCHDs to take their full annual leave entitlement prior to the termination date of their current placement with the employer/changeover date,” according to the circular.
“In such exceptional circumstances, and in accordance with the provisions of the NCHD contract, NCHDs may be entitled to payment from their current employer in lieu of any outstanding annual leave, subject to compliance with the statutory annual leave provisions under the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997.”
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