Employment Law

Holiday pay for Employees on Long Term Sick leave

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Holiday pay for Employees on Long Term Sick leave

You may wonder what happens with the holiday entitlement for employees who are on long term sick leave. If they are not working, they wouldn’t accrue holiday entitlement, right? Wrong.

Employees will continue to accrue holiday entitlement as long as they remain employees. This means that even if an employee has been off work for twenty weeks in a year due to sickness will continue to accrue holiday entitlement in the normal way.

Those on long term sick leave are protected by special rules when it comes to taking these holidays too.

As you know, an employee is required to take their holiday entitlement within the holiday year that it is accrued. Some employers may allow employees to ‘carry over’ a set number of accrued but untaken holidays into the next holiday year, usually 2 to 4 days.

However, employees who have accrued holiday in the current year but have not taken this within that year due to sickness will be permitted to ‘carry over’ this entitlement into the next holiday year. If this is the case, they will be able to carry over up to 4 weeks of holiday.

For example, Company A has a holiday year that runs from January to December. Their employee, Abdul, takes one week off in February 2022 and is then off on sick leave from April to the end of the year. Abdul would be entitled to ‘carry over’ three weeks holiday into the next holiday year i.e. Jan to Dec 2023.

If the employee returns to work in the next holiday year, then they should take their ‘carry over’ entitlement in that year.

There may be some cases where an employee does not return to work in the following year. In this case, the employee is able to ‘carry over’ these accrued but untaken holiday for a further 6 months into the next holiday year.

Following on from the above example, if Abdul did not return to work during the holiday year Jan to Dec 2023, he would be entitled to ‘carry over’ his 3-week accrued but untaken holiday entitlement until 1 July 2024 which is 6 months into the following holiday.

Employees may decide to take these holidays during their period of sickness. This is something they are permitted to do as long as they make sure that they follow the normal process in letting you know with the appropriate notice.

Author: Anna Nelson, Employment Law Advisor at Howarths

If you have any questions about the above or need advice specific advice about a holiday entitlement for an employee currently on long term sick leave then please contact the Employment Team on 01274 864999.


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