An employee who is on long term sick leave still accrues holiday as normal, regardless of the length of the absence but what happens if they request holiday during this period? An employee is quite within their rights to request a 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 SSP, top-up their payments to full pay for the period of holiday. The employee must however ensure they notify their employer of any period they wish to take as holiday as per the company’s normal holiday procedures in place. 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 paid sick if it is offered by the company, and use the annual leave days at another time. If they are not eligible for any paid sick, the employee will be unpaid or can only expect statutory sick pay if eligible as they are 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 the employee falls sick just before a pre-booked period of leave, they can 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 over any holiday untaken due to illness into the following holiday year.

There can be confusion around this topic so please get in touch if you need any further advice or guidance on this! Drop us an email at