We previously reported on the EAT’s decision in NHS Leeds v Larner, one of a number of recent cases focusing on the tricky issue of overlapping sickness absence and annual leave.
Mrs Larner’s employment with the NHS was terminated after a prolonged period of sickness absence throughout the 2009/10 leave year. The Tribunal confirmed she was entitled to be paid in lieu of the annual leave which she had neither taken in that leave year nor requested to carry forward to the following leave year, in which she was dismissed.
The NHS appealed against the EAT decision but today the Court of Appeal has upheld the EAT’s decision and dismissed that appeal.
The Court of Appeal has confirmed that, when a worker is prevented from taking paid annual leave because they are sick, they are entitled to carry forward that annual leave into the next leave year and there is no need to make a prior request to do so. In addition, if employment terminates in that year, before the worker can take the carried-forward holiday, they are entitled to be paid in lieu of it.
This decision provides some much needed certainty, particularly regarding the need to make a specific request to carry forward holiday in these circumstances. However, it is another “pro-employee” decision, in keeping with the theme of recent judgments in this area, and employers should be mindful of the Courts’ and Tribunals’ approach when dealing with similar situations in their organisations.