04 January 2013
Sick leave and annual leave
Staff absentee rates soar in winter as employees plump for a day under the duvet rather than go into work.
Typical winter illnesses such as colds and flu are the most frequently mentioned reason for absence, with 95% of employees citing this as a cause of their sick leave, while stress is the second most common reason for the increase in ill health.
In 2011, 33 million working days were lost due to ill health and it can be tough for employers to keep the business running in the face of a reduced workforce. That may be hard enough to deal with, but what happens if a staff member takes paid annual leave and is then sick during that period?
Are they then allowed to take additional annual leave when they are better? The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has said that the purpose of the entitlement to paid annual leave is to enable a worker to rest and to enjoy a period of relaxation and leisure, whereas the purpose of the entitlement to sick leave is to enable a worker to recover from illness.
It has ruled that someone who becomes incapacitated due to sickness while absent on holiday can take the affected period of leave at a different time.