Illness During Holiday
In practice, if an employee is sick immediately before or during their holiday, they have a choice. Their first option would be to take the holiday as planned and be paid for it. Their other option would be to postpone the holiday (or part of the holiday during which they were sick), receive sick pay in the normal way and take the holiday another time, possibly even in the next holiday year if it is impossible to reschedule the postponed holiday in the current year.As an employer, you already take on some risk that employees might be sick during work time and up until now it has been common sense that employees also take on some risk that they may be sick in their holiday time. It is simply an unfortunate fact of life. This ruling forces employers to take all of the risk.
Our advice is to ensure that you have robust absence management procedures in place to take action to deal with any “abusers”. Unscrupulous employees could return from a period of holiday and self-certify that they were sick for up to 7 days in order to gain extra holiday. To do what you can to guard against this, it would be sensible to require employees to phone their line manager every day if they are sick during a holiday period, to confirm that they are not fit and register that day as a “sick day” rather than holiday. It’s not great, but at least it’s something.