Annual leave carried over on long term sickness

Clarification from the Employment Appeal Tribunal on when annual leave can be carried over for workers on long term sickness absence

Last week, the Employment Appeals Tribunal provided some useful clarification for employers on when workers are permitted to carry over annual leave into the next leave year and also the length of the carry over period in the case of Plumb v Duncan Print Group Ltd.

Facts of the case

Mr Plumb was absent due to sickness from 26th April 2010 up until his employment ended on 10th February 2014. He had been involved in an accident. In July 2013, Mr Plumb requested he be paid his annual leave accrued since he went off sick in 2010. His employer paid the equivalent of annual leave accrued during 2013/14 leave year but not for 2010, 2011 or 2012.

After Mr Plumb’s employment ended, he brought a claim to recover the payment in lieu of annual leave for 2010, 2011 and 2012.

What did the Employment Appeals Tribunal find?

There are two key points:

1. A worker can carry forward accrued and untaken leave into a new holiday year even if the worker was capable of taking annual leave. The worker does not have to evidence that because of sickness, he was physically unable to take leave.

2. A worker is permitted to take annual leave within 18 months of the end of the leave year in which it accrued in cases where the worker is unable or unwilling to take the leave due to sickness. Consequently, Mr Plumb was entitled to receive payment in lieu of annual leave for the 2012/2013 leave year.

This case provides useful clarification for employers on the way to deal with accrued and outstanding annual leave for workers that are absent due to sickness long term. Both parties have been given permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal however, so this may not be the end of the matter.

For more information about this or any employment matter then please contact Gloucester’s employment specialists on 0800 158 4147.

To contact us please call 0800 158 4147 or 03330 145451 or email

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