Joint Review of Annual Leave Arrangements – Update Purchased Annual Leave

Joint Review of Annual Leave Arrangements – Update Purchased Annual Leave

Despite the turbulent period that we are in and the current dispute with Royal Mail, we recognise that matters related to contractual and purchased annual leave are key issues for our members. Therefore, the CWU has continued to attempt to address the difficulties related to annual leave, Branches will be aware that activity has been taking place in conjunction with this and in relation to the Joint Review of Annual Leave Arrangements. This has been undertaken in order to establish the exact levels of outstanding Annual Leave that exist and is owed to our members (LTBs 566/18 and 409/19 refer).

As a result of the activity that has taken place it has been identified that as at February 2020,
approximately 1,750 employees had in excess of 10 days outstanding of additional Purchased Leave, which is of course paid for via deductions from individual salaries.

Clearly this indicates that in some instances employees, many of whom are our members, are paying to purchase additional annual leave which they are not receiving and this is of concern to the union and the business.

The Royal Mail policy allows individuals to carry forward 5 days of annual leave from one year to the next. While we understand that some people may wish to build up annual leave in anticipation of specific events, to carry forward anything in excess of the 5 days requires agreement from their line manager.

The business has therefore advised the Union that from the 17th February 2020 they will be writing to employees who purchase additional annual leave and who are likely to have leave in excess of 10 days to carry forward into the next financial year, to invite them to a discussion with their line manager and CWU representative to:

  • Agree their leave card is accurate.
  • Discuss whether purchasing leave is still their wish.
  • Agree a reasonable period to use their accrued leave, which meets with the mutual interest principles of allocation for individuals and the business.

A draft copy of this letter is attached to this LTB for your information.

While the 5-day policy will be highlighted, the main aim of the discussion will be to determine whether in light of any outstanding leave that may exist, the continued purchase of additional annual leave is desired by the individual.

The activity will conclude by the 29th February 2020, which is the PSP cutoff date for opting in/out of purchasing additional annual leave.

Those opting out of purchasing additional annual leave will see their deductions cease at the end of this financial year. They will then return to normal pay and their leave entitlement will be revised to normal contractual leave, plus any outstanding leave from the 2019/20 leave year that is to be taken in the 2020/21 leave year.

Individuals who decide to opt out at this time may opt back in between October 2020 and February 2021, if they wish.

To ensure that the members are supported during the above process and that local representatives are aware of the activity, Branches are requested to circulate this LTB to their representatives at the earliest opportunity.

In addition to the above, progress has also been made in relation to employees purchasing additional leave who increase their contracted hours, e.g. at Christmas, to ensure that they receive the appropriate level of leave commensurate with the higher deductions that are made from their pay during such periods. The current situation is that there will be a manual adjustment made on PSP to ensure that individuals are credited with the appropriate level of additional leave as a result of any increased deductions.

However, due to the current industrial climate there has been no progress in relation to increasing the purchased leave ceiling from 6 to 7 weeks. Any developments in relation to this issue will be communicated to Branches in due course.

Davie Robertson, Assistant Secretary, email: or quoting reference number: 703.01.


Mark Baulch, Assistant Secretary, email: quoting reference number: 445.

Yours sincerely

Davie Robertson

Assistant Secretary

Mark Baulch

Assistant Secretary

LTB 082.20 – Joint Review of Annual Leave Arrangements – Update Purchased Annual Leave

Excessive Leave and POAL Letter

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