No holiday pay for long-term sick

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The Independent Online

Thousands of sick workers will no longer be able to claim holiday pay, following a Court of Appeal ruling, employment experts warned this weekend.

Thousands of sick workers will no longer be able to claim holiday pay, following a Court of Appeal ruling, employment experts warned this weekend. Judges ruled that employees off work sick for a lengthy period do not have an automatic right to four weeks of annual leave, the basic entitlement under Working Time Regulations.

The judges said workers forfeited holiday rights in years when they were completely unable to work due to ill health. The ruling also means long-term sick employees will not be entitled to claim compensation for holiday they have not taken, if they are made redundant.

The judgment reverses the ruling of an employment appeal tribunal in 2002, which said staff should still be able to claim holidays, or pay in lieu, even if they had been off work for more than 12 months.

"The court is saying that the statutory right to leave and holiday pay must be tied to the contribution that the worker makes to the employer's business," said John Davies, head of business law at the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. "If the worker is absent on long-term sick leave and makes no active contribution, then he or she does not qualify for the standard rights under the regulations."

All employees are entitled to four weeks of paid annual leave, including bank holidays, once they have worked for an employer for at least 13 weeks.

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