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4 October 2012

On 21 June 2012 the Court of Justice of the European Union issued the following judgement:

‘A worker who becomes unfit for work during his (her) paid annual leave is entitled, at a later point in time, to a period of leave of the same duration as that of his (her) sick leave.’

In practical terms the entitlement to sick leave takes precedent to arranged paid annual leave. Should the two periods of absence coincide then the employee may schedule the portion of their paid annual leave whilst sick for a later date even, if necessary, outside the normal reference period for annual leave. The Court pointed out that the ‘purpose of entitlement to paid annual leave is to enable the worker to rest and enjoy a period of relaxation and leisure. The purpose of entitlement to sick leave is different since it enables a worker to recover from an illness that has caused him (her) to be unfit for work’.

Employers may consider it prudent for their HR policies & procedures to contain a section that covers sickness during annual leave. This may include guidance on the timing of reporting a period of sickness and the requirement for a statement of fitness to work issued by a GP or medical practitioner to be provided when returning to work.

We have a payroll bureau service with staff focussed on health and care businesses and would be delighted to speak to you about your payroll processing. Please contact us if this is of interest.