Workers Falling Sick During Annual Leave Can Postpone Holiday

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Posted on 26 Jun 2012

The ECJ has confirmed that workers who fall sick during a period of annual leave can take their holiday at a later date.

In Asociacion Nacional de Grandes Empresas de Distribucion v Federacion de Asociaciones Sindicales, the ECJ was asked whether a worker must be allowed to interrupt a period of annual leave if they fall ill and be permitted to take the remaining annual leave at a later date.  The ECJ agreed that this is the case.  In Pereda v Madrid Movilidad SA the court had held that this is the position if a worker falls ill before a period of annual leave begins.  In the present case it said that the point at which the worker becomes ill is irrelevant.  A worker is entitled to postpone annual leave to a later date, whether they fall ill before a period of scheduled annual begins or whilst taking annual leave.  In addition, if necessary, the untaken holiday can be carried over to a subsequent leave year.

The decision in this case is not surprising.  It would be odd if the entitlement of a worker to postpone annual leave if they become ill differed depending on whether they fall ill before their scheduled annual leave begins or during their annual leave.  Following the recent ECJ decision in Neidel v Stadt Frankfurt am Main, it is possible that an employer will only be obliged to allow a worker to reschedule the four week basic annual leave entitlement under the Working Time Directive and not the additional 1.6 week’s leave provided for by the Working Time Regulations 1998.

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