Get in Touch Menu

Staff can get back holidays if they fall sick

27 July 2012

Workers who fall ill during their holidays are entitled to reclaim the time off at a later date, following a ruling at the end of June from the European Court of Justice (ECJ). This is not good news for employers, says one of our employment lawyers.

In the case, which was brought by a Spanish trade union against a group of department stores, the ECJ said that an employee can effectively cancel a period of booked holiday leave and retake it at a later date if he becomes unwell either before or during the time off.

The ECJ went to great lengths to emphasise that the concept of paid annual leave was a principle at the very core of EU social law and employers cannot escape their obligations.

The case follows that of Pereda v Madrid Movilidad SA). As in that case, the new ruling re-states the principle that if paid leave cannot be taken because of ill health, a worker must be allowed to carry the leave forward to the next holiday year.

This case represents the head-on collision between the EU and ECJ and the British government’s view that many current employment practices are economically restrictive. The ruling is effectively saying ‘don’t even think about taking us on’.

In an effort to appease business and industry, the government has given the impression that they will attempt to resist the effect of this judgment but the reality is that it is not within their power to do so.

As always, if you need commercial and pragmatic employment law advice, we’re here to help so please get in touch.

Contact us

Disclaimer: All legal information is correct at the time of publication but please be aware that laws may change over time. This article contains general legal information but should not be relied upon as legal advice. Please seek professional legal advice about your specific situation - contact us; we’d be delighted to help.
Matthew Clayton MA LLM (Cantab), CIPP/E
View profile
Mathew Clayton
Related services
Share this article
Resources to help

Related articles

In depth: The King’s speech & employment law – what you need to know

Employment & business immigration

The newly-elected Labour government has set out its ambitious plans for employment law reform in the Employment Rights Bill, representing “the biggest upgrade to workers’ rights in a generation.” The…

Hifsa O'Kelly LLB (Hons)
Associate, solicitor

General election 2024: what to expect in business immigration

Employment & business immigration

With polling day well underway, candidates from all parties – like the public – await the results of the 2024 general election. We have summarised the pledges of Labour, the…

Klára Grmelová MGR (LLM Czech)

Webinar: Business immigration for employers June 2024

Employment & business immigration

In this free webinar our experienced employment and business immigration lawyers guide you through the critical points to consider when employing non-UK workers. Along with plenty of useful hints and…

Contact us