Carrying over Paid Annual Leave when Sick
In the recent case of Sobczyszyn v Skola Podstawowa w Rzeplinie, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has reaffirmed that if sickness prevents a worker taking their four weeks’ annual leave under the Working time Directive, they are entitled to carry that annual leave forward to take at another time.
Ms Sobczyszyn was a teacher and took sick leave to convalesce under the Polish Teachers’ Charter. A reference was made to the ECJ to determine whether the Charter was compatible with the Working Time Directive, which entitles workers to four weeks’ leave a year.
The ECJ reaffirmed that annual leave under the Directive accrues during sick leave and that if annual leave coincides with sick leave, a worker can chose to take their annual leave at a later time. As the ECJ has said before, sick leave is for the purpose of recovery from illness and is not rest and therefore, annual leave needs to be rescheduled upon recovery. It does not make any difference whether the annual leave was booked or not, the worker must be able to use their annual leave at a later date.
This issue of the treatment of employees on sick leave, can present difficult issues for employers. Where required, we are able to provide specific advice on particular issues in respect of sickness and holidays.