Employment News Update: Sickness absence does not extend unused holiday leave indefinitely

In Plumb v Duncan Print Group, the EAT held that an employee who was on sick leave did not need to demonstrate that he was unable, by reason of his medical condition, to take annual leave. If a worker does not “wish” to take annual leave during periods of sick leave, he or she is entitled to take it at a later date. The EAT also ruled, however, that the right to carry over unused holiday entitlement is subject to a limit, as confirmed by the ECJ in KHS AG v Schulte. Therefore, in line with the International Labour Convention, the Working Time Regulations have to be read as permitting a worker to take annual leave within 18 months of the end of the leave year in which it was accrued, where the worker was ‘unable or unwilling’ to take holiday entitlement because he or she was on sick leave and, as a consequence, did not exercise the right. In this article, Makbool Javaid, Partner and Head of Employment Law looks at the facts of the case and the practical implications for employers in terms of statutory holiday entitlement policy and the impact on terms and conditions of employment.

This article appeared in the CIPD People Management Online Magazine on 16 July 2015

Link for CIPD members

Link for non-CIPD members: Plumb v Duncan Print Group