Unfortunately, there is a general area of confusion around the above issue of an employee taking holiday whilst off on sick leave or vice versa.

An employee who is on long term sick leave still accrues holiday as normal, regardless of the length of the absence, however, what happens if they request holiday during this period? An employee is quite within their rights to request holiday during any period of sickness leave, even if they remain signed off either side of the holiday period.

In this scenario, to put it simply, they are treated as off sick and on holiday at the same time. For example if they are getting zero pay for their sickness, pay them their full pay for the period of holiday, if they are on half pay or statutory sick pay (SSP), top up their payments to full pay for the period of holiday. The employee must ensure however, they notify their employer of any period they wish to take as holiday, as per the company’s normal holiday policy. This should not affect their SSP entitlements.

If an employee is sick whilst they are on holiday, they are entitled to change this leave to sick days, and would be eligible for sick pay, if it is offered by the company and use the annual leave days another time. If they are not eligible for any paid sick, the employee will be unpaid or can only expect SSP if they are deemed eligible as unfit to do the job for the period of sickness. However, to be eligible for this, they would need to report the sickness as per your normal sickness reporting procedure.

If an employee falls sick just before a pre-booked period of leave, they are able to cancel their leave and reschedule for another time, if this is the case, the employee should let their employer know of the situation as soon as possible. If they then remain off sick for the remainder of the holiday year, they will be able to carry any holiday that has not been taken due to illness to the following holiday year.

If you need any further HR advice, we are here to help, so please do get in touch.