In the most recent appeal of NHS Leeds v Larner the Court of Appeal have confirmed that a worker who was unable to take her statutory annual leave due to sickness did not have to make a request to carry the untaken leave over into the next leave year in order to receive a payment in lieu of it on termination of employment.
Mrs Larner, a clerical officer for NHS Leeds, went on paid sick leave in January 2009 and did not return to work before she was dismissed in April 2010. She did not request annual leave during 2009/10, nor did she ask to carry forward her accrued leave.
The question for the Court was whether this failure to request the leave meant that it was lost at the end of the leave year.
The Court of Appeal decided that there was no requirement to request that the leave is carried over and, as such, Mrs Larner was entitled to payment of this accrued holiday on termination.
This most recent judgement is just one of a number of high-profile decisions on the relationship between sickness absence and statutory annual leave which have radically affected the approach taken to the matter. The Government has proposed amending the WTR to reflect ECJ case law in the ‘Modern Workplaces’ consultation, to which its response is still awaited. At the very least, it now seems likely that any change will be in line with the Court of Appeal’s decision in this case.