Sickness & Holidays–ECJ Clarity

Clock Flickr Dee'Lite SmallWe’ve written loads in the past about what holidays an employee is entitled to when they are off sick. Although there has been some cases – mainly in overseas courts or the Employment Tribunal – it’s all been a bit zig-zag in terms of making progress.

Worry no longer – we appear to have some clarity from our old friends the judges at the European Court of Justice (ECJ). They have ruled that if an employee is ill while on annual leave they have the right to reclaim additional paid leave of the same duration at a later date. This applies  regardless of when their ill-health commenced.

As the ECJ put it : "The purpose of entitlement to paid annual leave is to enable the worker to rest and enjoy a period of relaxation and leisure.

The purpose of entitlement to sick leave is different, since it enables a worker to recover from an illness that has caused him or her to be unfit for work.

“The point at which the temporary incapacity arose is irrelevant. Consequently, a worker is entitled to take paid annual leave which coincides with a period of sick leave at a later point in time, irrespective of the point at which the incapacity for work arose."

The ECJ ruling is binding across all members of the EU. The UK government has said that the ruling will apply in the UK from October 2012.

So there you go – we got there in the end!

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