My employee has requested their annual leave be given back due to a period of illness through their holiday. Do I have to?

Q. My employee has been sick while off on holiday. They requested their annual leave be added to their entitlement. Do I have to?

The short answer to this question about sickness on annual leave is YES!

If an employee can prove (by way of a fit note from a medical professional) that they were unfit for work for all or part of their annual leave, they are entitled to re-take that annual leave at a later date so you must add the days of holiday back to their overall holiday entitlement for them to book on another occasion.

Recording sickness on annual leave

Of course, an employee cannot be recorded as being on holiday AND off sick at the the same time so that means that you will need to update your records to note that they have been on sick leave for the specified period of time. Rather than paying holiday pay, you would pay them according to Statutory Sick Pay rules and/or your own Company Sick Pay Scheme. In some ways, this is useful because it gives a truer picture of the employee’s attendance record. People can sometimes use holiday entitlement to cover periods of sickness and this can effectively “mask” how many days they’ve actually had off due to sickness. It is important to ensure that you keep your records as accurately as you possibly can.

It’s also important to note that an employee in this situation may be entitled to carry that annual leave over to the following year even if your usual Company rules do not allow holiday to be carried over. This is because employees may be entitled to carry over annual leave if they have been prevented from taking the leave in the current holiday year, e.g. by sickness or maternity leave for example.

If you would like more information about this, please contact us.