A question I have been asked regularly by employers since the Furlough scheme was introduced was whether or not employers could force their employees to take holidays during the furlough period. While the employee guidance on the scheme said employees could take holiday, the employer guidance was silent.
Finally though we now have clarity on the issue. In the updated employer guidance issued on 13 May, the government has now confirmed that employers can direct their employees to take holiday during the furlough period BUT they must discuss this with their employees and explain why the want them to do this before they require them to do this. Remember too that as the employer you must give the appropriate notice to employees (i.e. double the length of the holiday period as notice) that employees are required to take notice on particular days.
The updated guidance can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/holiday-entitlement-and-pay-during-coronavirus-covid-19#taking-holiday
If you have any questions on this or other aspects of dealing with furlough, then please contact me.