Workers Can Still Accrue Holiday Entitlement While Sick

(Telegraph) – THE HOUSE OF LORDS HAS RULED that workers can still accrue holiday time while sick — even if the absence is long term.

The lords agreed with a claim by Keith Ainsworth, a former tax inspector in Chester, who complained that HM Revenue and Customs wrongly made a deduction from his wages involving holiday pay when he was ill.

In the judgement, Lord Rodger of Earlsferry concluded workers also had a right to carry over holiday leave, which they were unable to take while ill, into the following year’s allocation — or take pay in lieu.

Lord Brown of Eaton-under-Heywood noted: ‘The purpose of a “holiday” from work is, at least in part, for the psychological and social well-being of the employee.’

He continued to say that holiday could be considered as similar to wages in terms of being something that was due to the employee whether they were ill or not.

The ruling means employees who return to work from a year of illness would legally be entitled to four weeks’ holiday immediately upon their return.

Tim Marshall, partner and UK head of employment at lawyers DLA Piper, said: ‘The judgment will increase the complexity of managing absence from work by allowing workers to take accrued holiday when they return to work — even after many months or more than a year off.

‘Until now the UK’s Working Time Regulations required employees to use all holiday leave within a year or lose it — a cost and time efficient way to manage leave.

‘Allowing workers to accrue statutory paid holiday entitlement during sickness absence will have serious financial and practical ramifications for employers across the UK.’

Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union, said: ‘This is a victory for common sense.’