22 Jun 2012

Workers who Fall Ill on Holiday are Entitled to Further Paid Leave

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The European Court of Justice ruled yesterday that if employees fall sick during their annual leave, they will be entitled to re-take that holiday at a later date.

The ECJ’s decision (which is binding throughout the EU) stated, “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 them to be unfit for work.”

At first sight, it may appear that this decision could be open to abuse by some workers. For example, what is to stop someone claiming that they were ill for three or four days during a holiday which will allow them to take more holiday at some other time?

MCM believes that there is no need for UK employers to panic. It is possible to introduce procedures and controls which ensure that employees do not take advantage of the law. In addition, our Government is planning to amend the Working Time Regulations to take account not only of this decision but also other European case law relating to sickness when on annual leave. Hopefully, this will also include provisions to ensure individuals cannot exploit the circumstances.

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Director MCM

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