Editorial for Newsletter #346Monday, February 2nd, 2009
It is nearly four years since the Court of Appeal, in the Ainsworth case, grappled with the concept of workers taking holidays while on long-term sick. We commented at the time that the court’s decision was unsatisfactory because it defined a rule that went beyond the legislation, namely that if a person was absent for a whole holiday leave year, entitlement to statutory holidays was lost – but not if the absence was for less than a full holiday year.
The European Court of Justice has now made it clear that a person cannot lose entitlement to statutory holidays because of being absent sick, not matter how long the absence is. The decision, while illustrating just how long it takes for the courts, whether in the UK or in Europe, to make important decisions, also leaves a number of issues unanswered. We will have to wait goodness knows how long for the House of Lords to give its decision on the outstanding Stringer case, but then likely wait even longer for the government to change the law.
While on the subject of holiday entitlements, how do your contractual rules on entitlement to paid holidays in the first year of employment match up to the statutory requirements? Please consider this week’s FAQ carefully.
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