The recent ruling by the EAT in the case of Sood Enterprises Limited v Healy may leave sick workers feeling even more sick!
The EAT has found that the right of workers to carry over annual leave because they were off sick and unable to take holiday is limited to the basic right to 4 weeks (20 days) leave under the Working Time Regulations 1998 (WTR) and does not extend to the additional leave of 1.6 weeks (further 8 days) as provided for by the WTR. This is unless there is an agreement in place between the worker and employer that states otherwise.
Without getting too bogged down in detail, Regulation 13(1) WTR states that a worker is entitled to 4 weeks’ annual leave in each leave year. Regulation 13(a) increased a worker’s entitlement for any leave year beginning on or after 1st April 2009 by 1.6 weeks, meaning that workers are entitled to a total of 28 days.
In light of this decision we would advise employers to review the drafting of their standard contracts of employment, staff handbook and sickness absence policies to determine whether there is any express agreement between them and their workers which would allow sick workers to carry over their additional leave of 1.6 weeks into any subsequent leave year in the event of sickness absence preventing them from taking such leave.
If there isn’t, then sick workers will only be entitled to carry over their basis right to 4 weeks leave.
For those that are interested in reading the EAT’s decision, this can be found at:
If you would like any further information regarding this decision and its possible implications please contact a member of the Devonshires Employment Team.