If employees on sick leave are unable or unwilling to take holiday during that time, they are entitled to take their holiday within 18 months of the leave year ending.
This is the case regardless of whether they are contractually permitted to carry over their annual leave if they are on sick leave. Employees do not have to show that they are physically unable to take annual leave, however, they should submit a request under their employer’s policy to take holiday leave within the 18 months of the end of the leave year. If they fail to do so, they could lose the right to carry leave over.
In the case of Plumb v Duncan Print Group the Claimant was on sick leave from April 2010 until his employment terminated in February 2014. He had not taken, and was not paid for, any holiday leave until his request in July 2013. The employer agreed to pay him only for the holiday year 2013-2014. The Claimant argued for payment in lieu of annual leave for the preceding 3 years, totaling 60 days. http://www.beechampeacock.co.uk/sick-workers-must-take-their-holiday-within-18-months-of-their-leave-year-ending/ http://www.beechampeacock.co.uk/sick-workers-must-take-their-holiday-within-18-months-of-their-leave-year-ending/The Employment Appeal Tribunal made it clear that unused leave cannot be carried over for an unlimited amount of subsequent years, and imposed the 18 month limit after the end of the leave year.
Employees should make sure that they are being paid correctly for the holiday pay that they take whilst on sick leave or carry over to later years, and anyone who requires assistance in making an employment claim should seek legal advice.
Beecham Peacock can advise on any aspect of employment law. For further information call us on 0191 232 3048 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.