Since 1 August 2015 employees are entitled to accumulate annual leave when they are on long-term sick leave.
This means that employees on certified sick leave can take their holiday days up to 15 months after the year in which they were entitled to take the annual leave. It applies to employees who were not able to take their holidays because they were on sick leave.
This is a significant change in employment law. Before 1 August 2015, if a person was on sick leave for over a year they lost their holiday entitlement for the year they were out of work.
It will have a significant impact on employers, particularly where an employee does not return to work after their sick leave. On termination of their employment, the employee is entitled to be paid for annual leave they did not take.
We would advise employers to review all contracts of employment and employee handbooks to ensure that they are in line with the revised law. The employer should clearly state that the accumulation of annual leave applies only to days that the employees are entitled to legally. Employment law regarding annual leave does not apply to extra days of annual leave given by the employer in an employment contract.
Employers should also take note of staff who are on long-term sick leave and ensure their annual leave entitlements are calculated in line with the revised laws.
If you have any employment queries please contact Helen Coughlan on 045 431542.