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“Sick on hols” ruling criticised

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The ECJ ruling on reclaiming holiday time affected by illness would be a financial burden for UK businesses, warns the CIPP.

The Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals (CIPP) has commented on the latest European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling that workers who become ill when taking annual leave have the right to reclaim additional paid time off later. This ruling is binding on all European Union (EU) members including Britain and the judgment relates to the EU’s Working Time Directive. The Government has said it will apply the Court’s rulings from October. The Court ruling specified that “The purpose of entitlement to paid annual leave is to enable the worker to rest and enjoy a period of relaxation and leisure,” the Court said. “The purpose of entitlement to sick leave is different, since it enables a worker to recover from an illness that has caused him to be unfit for work. “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.”

Karen Thomson FCIPP MSc, Associate Director of Policy, Research and Strategic Visibility at the CIPP, said: “This is yet another case where the interaction of annual leave and sick leave is the issue. The issue of taking holiday whilst on sick leave and sick leave whilst on holiday are still unresolved under the Working Time Regulations. “The CIPP is disappointed to see that once again the EU feels it necessary to legislate for sickness during holidays. Whether an employer allows an employee to reclaim holiday if sick during their leave is a matter to be dealt with between the employer and the employee; not the EU or the UK Government. “The CIPP would support the statement that this will be a further financial burden for UK businesses at a time when they can least afford it. For payroll and HR departments this will be more administration as employers will require some form of evidence that the employee was sick and then records would need to be amended accordingly.”

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