Following a number of recent cases that have been decided by the European Court of Justice (or ECJ as it is often called) the position regarding your right to holiday pay during a period of sickness absence has been clarified.
If you are absent from work due to sickness and are unable to take paid holiday leave in the relevant holiday year then you are able to carry forward that leave.
You are signed off sick from work on the 1st June 2011 and you are off work until the 1st January 2012.
The Employer’s holiday year runs from 1st January to 31st December.
When you were signed off sick you had only taken 5 days holiday. Your entitlement is 25 days.
This means that you have 20 days annual leave that you were not able to take as you were off sick during the holiday year.
When you return to work the Employer should allow you to carry over that accrued leave.
If your employment ends whilst you are on leave then you are entitled to receive a payment in lieu for the holiday accrued which you could not take.
Do I have to ask for the leave to be able to carry forward?
A recent case has also clarified the position and you do not have to make a request to carry the leave forward in order to do so upon your return from sickness absence, or to receive payment in lieu on the termination of your employment.
This is an evolving area of law, and therefore your Employer may not be up to date with the position. It is advisable to check back for any updates or clarification before you get into an argument with your Employer about it.