Employment solicitor: Long-term sick entitled to holiday pay

A European court has clarified for employment solicitors that those who are absent from work through sickness over a long period are entitled to carry their holiday pay over from that period.

Changes to the rules employment solicitors work with

The European Court of Justice found in favour of employment solicitors whose clients brought a claim against their former employer after they were denied holiday and holiday pay because they had been on long-term sick leave. Employment solicitors successfully argued that employees should accrue holiday pay throughout sick leave meaning, once they return, they should be allowed to take it or must be paid in lieu if they are dismissed.

The ruling will mean changes to what employment solicitors would have previously used as their point of reference in such a case, the Working Time Regulations which prohibit carrying over holiday pay to the following year.

Employment solicitors point out limitation of the ruling

"However, the court only discussed statutory minimum holiday," points out employment solicitor Mark Mansell of Allen & Overy in Personnel Today. "Employers can probably take a stricter line in relation to contractual holiday that exceeds the statutory minimum."

In the Law Gazette meanwhile, employment solicitor Darren Clayton, of Doyle Clayton Solicitors, highlights the ambiguity of the ruling. He suggests, for instance, that employment solicitors will need to know whether holiday leave can be paid for in lieu or whether the holiday should be taken, according to the purpose of the Working Time Regulations.

If you feel that you have been denied holiday pay as a result of taking long-term sick leave and wish to make a claim then it is important you contact an employment solicitor at the earliest possible opportunity.

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