Softworks Blog

Employees on sick leave to carry forward holidays in the UK?

Posted by Triona Cahalane on Thu, Jul 26, 2012

A UK ruling has announced that workers who have been on sick leave for more than a year are entitled to reclaim their holiday allowance in the next leave year.

According to legal experts, this news is damaging for employers as it could have cost implications.

Softworks Chris Wellham, counsel in the employment team at Hogan Lovells, said: “Allowing long-term sick employees to carry leave forward automatically and to be paid for all the leave that has accrued on termination of employment could be very costly for employers.

“This opens the way for employees on long-term sickness absence to claim holiday pay for the whole period of their absence when their employment terminates. For an employee who has been absent for two leave years for example, this could represent nearly three months’ pay.”

Richard Kenyon, head of employment and pensions at Field Fisher Waterhouse, added: “While the case provides some clarity, it is unlikely to be welcomed by employers, given the practical advantages of requiring workers to make such requests. Nor is it likely to be an advantage overall to long-term sick employees. Employers will now have more incentive to dismiss rather than allow sick leave to roll on and holiday to accrue unchecked.”

The verdict comes following a separate ruling on sick leave & holiday entitlement in the Court of Justice of the European Union. The court held in the case of Anged v Fasga, that a worker who becomes sick while on a scheduled holiday from work is entitled to take that annual leave at another time when they are not ill.

Topics: Workforce Solutions, Absenteeism