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13th July 2015

Sickness and Annual Leave - the next instalment

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For some time now, it has been clear that, when an employee is unable to take any or all of their 4 weeks minimum holiday entitlement given under the Working Time Directive in any holiday year, they must be permitted to carry it forward into, at the very least, the next holiday year.

What was not clear was for how long they can carry it forward.

Now, the Employment Appeal Tribunal has decided in a case called Plumb-v-Duncan Print Group that the employee can only carry forward such untaken holiday for 18 months from the end of the leave year in which it accrued, and not beyond.

The EAT however also decided that the employee does not have to show that they were unable to take that time off as holiday - i.e. that they were physically unable to do so. As an employee absent on sick leave has the ability to choose whether to take some of that absence as holiday or not (e.g. when their sick pay has run out), the EAT decided that the carry forward principle applies where the employee is either unable or simply unwilling to take those days as holiday during the holiday year.

So, for example, an employee with a holiday year of 2015 and who is off sick all this year may decide, if they wish, not to take any holiday. If they do not do so, they can then carry forward 20 days not only into the 2016 holiday year, but also if they wish half way into the 2017 holiday year.

See our Employment services page for more information or please contact Nick Hall on 01604 233233 or click here to email Nick.