Employees entitled to rearrange annual leave if they fall sick

17-08-2012 16:51

Employees entitled to rearrange annual leave if they fall sick A recent employment law ruling by the European Union Court of Justice now guarantees more protection for employees who fall ill during their pre-arranged annual leave. Pereda v Madrid Movilidad, a case in 2009, ruled that a worker was entitled to postpone annual leave after becoming incapacitated shortly before it was due to commence. The ruling followed a strong plea from Spanish trade unions demanding that employees should be entitled to postpone their annual leave if they become sick after the leave period begins.

NHS v Larner, another influential UK case, ruled that employees on long term sickness leave were still entitled to 'roll-over' any untaken holiday entitlement of one year to the following year. Traditionally, employers have adopted a 'use it or lose it' approach to holiday pay to prevent employees from postponing holiday into a new year. However, this new ruling means workers can take accrued leave even if if the 'roll-over' has not been requested previously.

Both rulings apply to the statutory 28 days of paid leave, which complies with the Working Time Regulations Act of 1998. Meanwhile, employers normally ask their employees to notify them of their sickness as early as possible before being granted SSP (Statutory Sick Pay). Of course, as SSP can often be lower than full time holiday pay, many employees are still tempted to attend work even when they are suffering from sickness.side of the spectrum – returning to work after 

Recent data has found that approximately 300,000 Britons stopped working because of illness, collectively claiming around £13 billion in taxpayer funding as a result. David Frost, a Government advisor, has suggested individuals would return to work if they had a proper support system in place. To reduce the cost of sickness benefits, Mr Frost has been urging the Government to reform the system to encourage workers to return to work sooner, rather than remaining off work even if they are fit enough to return.

Aviva study also finds most UK employers struggle to guide people back into the workplace

Research from Aviva has also suggested that approximately four in five UK employers believe they are poorly equipped to help employees back to the workplace after a long term illness. 43 percent believed employees could benefit from being automatically enrolled onto a financial protection scheme, which would protect employees from hardship during long term sickness. 22 percent of employers said they did not have the resources or the knowledge to manage employees back to the workplace, while 17 percent were already considering purchasing group income protection.

Aviva's Steve Bridger points out that employers are largely 'unaware' of the state provisions that are available for long term illness and injury, reiterating that many employers now 'recognise the benefits' of auto-enrolment for employees, which also helps them with their rehabilitation process.

Sources:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/jobs/9427440/Sick-leave-ruling-is-a-blow-to-employers.html

http://www.privatehealth.co.uk/news/august-2012/help-employees-following-illness-37482/

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