NHS Leeds v Larner UKEAT/0088/11

Mrs Larner was employed by NHS Leeds. In January 2009 Mrs Larner went on sick leave and did not return to work. In April 2010 NHS Leeds terminated her employment by reason of ill-health capability.  

Mrs Larner brought a claim for payment in respect of her outstanding statutory holiday entitlement.  

The Tribunal upheld Mrs Larner’s claim.  

NHS Leeds appealed to the EAT. It argued that the notice requirements under the Working Time Regulations (“WTR”) were mandatory. It contended that Mrs Larner lost her statutory leave entitlement as she had failed to notify NHS Leeds of her to wish to take leave.

The EAT upheld the Tribunal’s decision. It rejected NHS Leeds’ argument that the WTR notice provisions were mandatory. Mrs Larner had been signed off sick for a whole leave year and was unable to exercise her right “to enjoy a period of relaxation”. Further, she “did not have the opportunity” to take her statutory leave entitlement.  

The Tribunal decided that Mrs Larner’s holiday entitlement would carry over to the next year. When NHS Leeds terminated her employment, her right to be paid in respect of that leave crystallised.

Comment

This decision has gone only a small way to clarify what is currently an uncertain area of law. The government however is proposing amendments to the WTR to ensure that they comply with the relevant European legislation. We will keep you updated on any changes that emerge.