Doom-mongers overplay holidays for the sick judgement
If you read “business attacks ruling on holidays” in the FT today, or the Sun’s lurid “fury over sick pay ruling” you might be excused for thinking that this week’s ruling from the European Court of Justice was all about the EU bashing British business. Luckily, much of the business reaction is either spin or bunkum.
Actually this judgement is mainly about shoring up existing good practice. The vast majority of employers in the UK already give their workers a set amount of annual leave that is unaffected by sickness absence during the year. Most employers also pay the full value of untaken holidays to workers who leave their employment due to sickness absence.
The judgement will only really make a difference to those whose sickness absence takes them up to the end of the leave year. These workers may now be due for holiday pay rather than sick pay for a couple of extra weeks. In many cases, this will have no cost to employers as they have contracted to pay the full rate for holidays.
Some employers will have to pay a little bit more in such cases, but isn’t it right that this small group of workers who are already suffering from ill-health should be protected from losing out on their entitlement to the minimum legal holiday pay?