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Employees on long-term sick leave entitled to full paid holiday

After years of confusion European judges have ruled employees on long-term sick leave are entitled to take all their full paid holiday.

It had been argued that workers are not eligible for holiday rights accrued after prolonged illness, but the new ruling declared, "a worker does not lose his right to paid annual leave which he has been unable to exercise because of sickness. He must be compensated for his annual leave not taken".

The ruling is a victory for the UK Revenue and Customs staff who challenged the loss of their annual holiday after a period of absence because of sickness.

The European Court of Justice ruling reverses a Court of Appeal decision four years ago, which decreed that workers absent on long-term sickness could not claim holiday or holiday pay for years when they were not at work.

The court said: "The entitlement to annual leave of a worker on sick leave duly granted cannot be made subject to the obligation actually to have worked in the course of the leave year laid down by a member state."

It added: "The Court concludes that the right to paid annual leave is not to be extinguished at the end of the leave year and/or of a carry-over period laid down by national law."


Readers' comments (4)

  • Phil Dup

    I want to cry sometimes when I see these bizarre decisions taken by well paid, expense account fattened , legal leeches that ultimately will just make work even harder for those of us who knuckle down and do the job and pay our taxes to try and keep society afloat.

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  • So the government won’t reward failure. That’s a laugh. Look at the ex RBS boss on a huge pension, and now all of those staff on long term sick leave will still get their holiday pay. You can see it now, a staff member comes back from 10 months off only to be told to take another 2 months off Because they still have annual leave to take.

    Maybe im just cynical but I reckon about 20% of long term sick are actually sick, the rest we just can’t prove that they are skiving. The world we live in is just a joke. Whilst yet again, it’s the hard working innocent people who are getting screwed over.

    Where is the patient centered care in all this??

    Where is the value for money??

    If you’re on long term sick you should forfeit your holiday privileges or get a reduction in holiday time because it is grossly unfair on the few staff that will do the extra work to keep a service running. We don’t get any extra holiday in respect of the extra hours we do. Why should they expect holiday pay when they are not working yet still getting full pay.

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  • The nay sayers must thankfully, have never been in the situation where they were unable to work for a long period of time! Just think of colleagues who, most often through no fault of their own, cannot work due to ill health and/ or disability, sometimes due to the job they do! Those people still have to make mortgage payments and other bills and sometimes they are the only or main breadwinner for their family. I know there are skivers about but most are genuine in my experience and when managers keep in contact with the staff off sick the shirkers should be identified readily enough.

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  • I agree that those on long term sick should be paid for annual leave missed. I work as a manager and realise this will make things hard to manage. However, i have also been a cancer sufferer and would have lost my annual leave had i not come back to work swiftly. I think it is cynical to think this stance will be exploited. I find that those that use the system are few. Why should you loose your annual leave at the year end if you are sick through no fault of your own

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