Annual Leave Entitlement Restricted to 4 Weeks in the Event of Sickness

25 Jul

An opinion regarding the amount of annual leave that an employee should be able to carry over as a result of sickness has been put forward by Advocate General Bot of the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

The current position in the United Kingdom, as a result of Sood Enterprises Ltd v Healy, is that employees are only able to carry over the 4 weeks of annual leave entitlement permitted under the Working Time Directive in the case of sickness and not the additional 1.6 weeks of leave provided for by the Working Time Regulations.

Advocate General Bot explained that the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, which provides that “every worker has the right to an annual period of paid leave”, should be interpreted to mean that member states can decide whether additional leave is eligible to be carried over.

This means that in the UK, where an employee is unable to take annual leave due to sickness absence, only the 4 weeks leave entitled by the Working Time Directive can be carried over and not their full contractual entitlement.

Although the ECJ’s position on this issue is not yet confirmed, Advocate General Bot’s opinion reinforces the current position in the UK as the seemingly correct process to follow at this moment in time.

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