Does my holiday pay accumulate during a period of sickness?

November 2, 2015


When the Working Time Regulations were introduced in 1998 they required an employee to take annual leave within the leave year in which it was due. Unless their employers agreed, they could not carry the unused leave over to the following year. Furthermore, employers were not entitled to make payment in lieu of untaken holiday unless the employment was actually terminated in the year in question. This situation often creates difficulties if somebody was unable to work through ill health for a period of more than a year. This issue has recently been resolved by the case of Plumb -v- Duncan Print Group Limited. EAT. Mr Plumb worked as a printer. He suffered an accident at work in April 2010. He remained off sick until his employment was eventually terminated in February 2014.

This meant that he was unable to take his annual leave in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Finally in August 2013 he asked for 20 days paid leave for each of the years he had missed whereupon he commenced a claim for holiday pay in respect of missed years. The Employment Appeal Tribunal indicated that:-

1.    An employee who is on long term sick leave may apply for payment for holiday they were unable to take during their period of sickness;

2.    It was the employee’s decision whether they applied for payment of sick leave or not;

3.    Any claim for holiday pay must be made within 18 months of the end of year in which the entitlement arose.

Contracts of employment often specify when a holiday leave year is due to start and finish. However this case clarifies what has until now been unclear.


If you require any advice please contact Quintin Barry or Simon Dodds.