Long term sickness and holiday entitlement

18 December 2019

We recently spotted a court ruling relating to long term sickness and holiday entitlement that might give you some food for thought. The ruling (which was made by The Court of Justice of the European Union) relates to whether holiday entitlement must be carried over to the following year if it isn’t used due to employee sickness. To illustrate, consider the following;

Ben is entitled to 28 days’ holiday per year which must be booked between January and December. He took 5 days of holiday in March but has been off work sick between August and December. He is due to return to work in January which will take him into the next holiday period – so what will happen to the 23 days of holiday that he hasn’t used?

The natural response may be to think that these days must be carried forward to the following year and added to his holiday allowance. However, in the case of TSN v Hyvinvointialan it was ruled that this is not so. Instead, it was decided that holidays must only be carried over to a maximum of 20 days. As such, in Ben’s case only 15 days would be carried over (20 days minus the 5 he had already used).

This ruling may come as welcome news for employers who will now have greater flexibility when managing employees experiencing long term sickness.