Sick Workers in UK Not Required to Make Leave Request to Enjoy Accrued Annual Leave Benefits

July 27, 2012

The Supreme Court recently held in NHS Leeds v Larner that the statutory right to 28 days annual leave or, if the leave cannot be taken before termination of employment, the right to a payment in lieu of untaken leave, is not conditional upon a sick worker having made a leave request to the employer in the relevant leave year.

This important decision clarifies two challenges which employers have faced as a result of domestic case law: (i) whether a worker who is sick during a period of booked annual leave is automatically entitled to take the leave at another time; and (ii) whether a worker who is on long-term sick leave for the whole of a leave year is entitled to carry forward leave (or to a payment in lieu of leave accrued in preceding years on termination of employment) if no request for leave has been made. This update outlines the answers to both these challenges according to the Supreme Court’s decision.