New European ruling on sickness and holidays
The European Court of Justice yesterday ruled that workers who go on sick leave during a period that has been scheduled as annual leave should be allowed to reschedule their holidays, even if that means allowing annual leave to be carried forward into a subsequent holiday year. Eversheds partner, Owen Warnock discusses the 'grey areas' that this ruling raises:
“Many employers take the view that if an employee is sick while on holiday that is just bad luck for them. The European Court has now said that this is not allowed by the Working Time Directive. What if a worker falls ill after their annual leave has started? When this happens what evidence of illness must the worker produce in order to have their leave reclassified? After all if they were not on holiday the employer would have to accept a self-certificate for the first week of sickness. The danger of abuse is clear: an employee could increase his or her holiday entitlement by ensuring that in most years they alleged they were sick while on holiday. It may only be the occasional "bad penny" employee who does this, but the resentment that it would create with colleagues should not be underestimated.
“Until the European or UK courts say otherwise, our view is that employers are entitled to require workers to produce convincing evidence of their illness while on holiday and that it would have rendered them unfit for work before allowing workers to ‘reallocate’ holidays.”
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