Workers who are ill whilst on holiday should be given replacement leave
The European Court of Justice has ruled that workers who are ill whilst on annual leave are entitled to take replacement holiday at a later date. The ruling was in response to a case brought with regard to a Spanish Department store.
The Court said “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 them to be unfit for work.”
The ruling confirmed that it does not matter at which point the illness occurred. It said “bearing in mind the purpose of paid annual leave, the Court has already held that a worker who is unfit for work before the commencement of a period of paid annual leave is entitled to take that leave at another time which does not coincide with the period of sick leave. In its judgment today, the Court states that the point at which the temporary incapacity arose is irrelevant. Consequently, a worker is entitled to take paid annual leave which coincides with a period of sick leave at a later point in time, irrespective of the point at which the incapacity for work arose.”
It remains to be seen whether the ruling with have any major impact on UK employers.