Holiday and sickness absence
Holiday and sickness absence

The following Employment guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Holiday and sickness absence
  • Practical implications of the case law: a summary
  • Whether holiday entitlement continues to accrue during sickness absence
  • Whether a worker can nominate sick leave as holiday
  • Whether a long-term sick worker needs to request annual leave
  • Whether sickness-affected holiday can be postponed and for how long
  • Whether employers must permit carry over of leave under the WTR 1998
  • Period for which leave may be carried over
  • Whether a worker is entitled to be paid for holiday not taken due to sickness absence
  • Whether the case law applies to additional statutory leave entitlement
  • more

This Practice Note considers various practical issues which arise in relation to the entitlement to annual leave and holiday pay of workers who are, or have been, absent on sick leave, in light of case law on the subject.

Workers on long-term sick leave may, although still employed, be on zero pay after a while. Thus it matters if they are entitled to take statutory annual leave during sick leave, as during such annual leave they would be entitled to their normal rate of pay. It is of particular importance where such a worker has been off sick for more than one leave year. If he has not been paid (or not paid fully) for annual leave in each leave year, the issue of whether he can seek payment in respect of the earlier years, or whether any claim is restricted to the latest leave year, is likely to arise.

Practical implications of the case law: a summary

The practical implications of the cases (discussed in more detail in the remainder of this Practice Note) can be summarised as set out below.

Public sector workers

Public sector workers can rely on the direct effect of the right to annual leave under the Working Time Directive.

Where such workers are absent from work due to illness, they:

  1. will not lose their entitlement to paid