holiday pay during sick leave

UK: The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has provided important clarification on the annual leave entitlement under the Working Time Regulations 1998 (WTR) of workers (including employees) who are off work on long-term sick leave.

In the case of Fraser v Southwest London St George’s Mental Health Trust, the EAT has decided that:

  • a worker on long-term sick leave must request annual leave in line with the requirements of the WTR in order to be entitled to be paid for it;
  • a worker is entitled to be paid in lieu of accrued but untaken holiday when employment terminates, but only in respect of leave accrued during the leave year in which employment terminates. Accrued but untaken annual leave from previous leave years does not carry forward for the purposes of the payment in lieu entitlement where no request to take such leave was made by the worker; and
  • there is no duty on the employer to make a worker aware that the WTR rules operate in this way.

The decision provides welcome clarification to employers facing holiday-pay claims from workers on long-term sick leave on how to calculate annual leave. It is now clear that such workers are not entitled to be paid unless they requested annual leave during the relevant leave year. The EAT commented that it may seem artificial for an employee who is not at work to have to give notice in this way, but in the EAT’s view that “merely reflects the artificiality of a period of long term sickness counting as holiday at all”.Continue Reading UK: Workers required to request holiday whilst on sick leave in order to qualify for holiday pay

The House of Lords, in the case of HM Revenue and Customs v Stringer and others has overturned the decision of the Court of Appeal in that case, ruling that claims for unpaid statutory holiday pay and accrued statutory holiday pay on termination under the Working Time Regulations 1998 (“WTRegs”) can be made as unlawful deduction from wages under the Employment Rights Act 1996 (“ERA”), as well as under the WTRegs. This will mean that workers can take advantage of the more favourable time limits which apply under the ERA, which could potentially allow them to claim unpaid holiday pay on termination of their employment going back several years, provided they bring their holiday pay claim within three months of their employer’s most recent failure to pay them holiday pay. This decision will not be welcomed by employers as it will increase the cost of both continuing to employ workers on long term sick leave, and also on termination of their employment. It also leaves unresolved a number of practical problems arising from the decision of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) earlier this year on this issue (see our blog for details of the ECJ decision). Continue Reading House of Lords paves way for back-dated holiday pay claims

The European Court of Justice has ruled that workers on long term sick leave will not lose their right to holiday pay where they have been unable to take the holiday by virtue of being on sick leave. This decision is very unwelcome to employers as it will increase the cost of both continuing to employ workers on long term sick leave, and also on termination of their employment. Read on to see what we think this means for employers in practice.

Gerhard Schultz-Hoff (C-350/06) v Deutsche Rentenversicherung Bund, and Mrs C. Stringer and Others (C-520/06) v Her Majesty’s Revenue and CustomsContinue Reading European Court rules on holiday pay during sick leave