Curry Popeck

Employee on sick leave can carry over holiday entitlement

Employees unable to take some or all of their annual leave because of sickness can carry over the entitlement to a later date, confirmed the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

The case involved a teacher in Poland who was recovering from an illness and was unable to take her annual leave. When she later came to claim it, the school she worked for said that it had been absorbed within her sick leave.

The matter was referred to the ECJ, which ruled in favour of the teacher. The ECJ considered that four weeks’ annual leave was a fundamental right under EU law and a worker continues to build up holiday entitlement while on sick leave.

The court differentiated between annual holiday entitlement and sick leave by stating that holiday was for rest and relaxation, whilst sick leave was strictly for recovery from illness. The distinction should not be distorted, and if annual leave coincides with a period when an employee is recovering from illness, then the annual leave should be rescheduled.

It was considered that it should make no difference whether the holiday period had already been scheduled prior to illness, or not.

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Case featured:
Employee on sick leave can carry over holiday entitlement
Sobczyszyn v Skola Podstawowa w Rzeplinie
European Court of Justice
June 2016